Arriva UK Trains

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Arriva UK Trains
PredecessorArriva and DB Regio's train operations in the UK
HeadquartersSunderland, England, UK
Key people
Dave Brown (Managing Director)
ServicesTrain Operator
OwnerDeutsche Bahn
SubsidiariesAlliance Rail Holdings
Arriva Rail London
Arriva TrainCare
Chiltern Railways
Grand Central

Arriva UK Trains Limited[1] is the company that oversees Arriva's train operating companies in the United Kingdom. It gained its first franchises in February 2000. These were later lost, though several others were gained. In January 2010, with the take-over of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn, Arriva UK Trains also took over the running of those formerly overseen by DB Regio UK Limited.[2]


Arriva currently runs the following railway companies with operational dates listed:[3]



Arriva's operations[edit]

Arriva Trains Merseyside ran urban rail services on Merseyside from February 2000 until March 2003 and Arriva Trains Northern ran local rail services in Northern England from February 2000 until December 2004. Both franchises were lost to Serco-Abellio.

Arriva Trains Wales operated the majority of rail services in Wales, operating the Wales & Borders franchise from 7 December 2003 until 13 October 2018.[4] This franchise was lost to KeolisAmey Wales.

Arriva Rail North operated the Northern franchise from April 2016 to 29 February 2020.[5] This franchise was terminated and handed to the government-owned Northern Trains.

London Overground Rail Operations, a 50/50 joint venture with MTR Corporation operated the London Overground concession from November 2007 until November 2016. Arriva now operate the concession in its own right as Arriva Rail London.

CrossCountry operates long-distance cross-country routes. The New Cross Country franchise runs from 11 November 2007 until October 2023.[6]

Arriva TrainCare operates train maintenance depots at Bristol, Cambridge, Crewe, Eastleigh and Newcastle.

Former DB Regio UK operations[edit]

In January 2008 it was announced that subject to regulatory approval, Deutsche Bahn would purchase Laing Rail[7][8] which had itself just started operating the London Overground concession in partnership with MTR Corporation. As a result of the Deutsche Bahn purchase, Laing Rail Limited was renamed DB Regio UK Limited in April 2008.

DB Regio UK continued to expand when in February 2009 it was shortlisted[9] and on 3 December 2009 awarded a contract to operate the Tyne & Wear Metro,[10] taking over operations on 1 April 2010.

Following the purchase of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn in August 2010, Arriva UK Trains expanded to take over Deutsche Bahn's existing DB Regio UK division which consisted of Chiltern Railways, DB Regio Tyne & Wear, a 50% shareholding in the now closed Wrexham & Shropshire open access operation and a 50% shareholding in London Overground Rail Operations. The Tyne & Wear Metro contract with DB Regio did not renew, and Nexus took over the operation of the Tyne & Wear Metro in April 2017.


Post-merger growth strategy[edit]

Arriva UK Trains wishes to expand the number of UK Rail businesses it operates by developing open access operations and successfully bidding for further Department for Transport Rail Franchises.[11] As part of this strategy in November 2011 Arriva bought open-access operator Grand Central for an undisclosed price.[12] Disappointingly in the last full financial year before the purchase, Grand Central's seven return trains a day lost £8.5m leaving an overall deficit of £35m.[13] Alliance Rail Holdings continues to develop new open access proposals following the rejection of their initial plans by the Office of Rail Regulation in 2011.[14]

During 2012 Arriva's applications to bid for the InterCity West Coast, Greater Anglia, Essex Thameside and Thameslink franchises were all rejected by the Department for Transport. Following this run of failure Arriva was publicly critical of the government's prequalification process and called for it to be abolished. However Arriva was shortlisted to bid for the aborted Greater Western franchise in March 2012[15] and the Caledonian Sleeper and Crossrail franchises in 2014.[16][17]

In June 2014 Alliance successfully concluded negotiations with Network Rail for access paths to run between Euston and Blackpool/Huddersfield and Leeds from 2017 using Pendolino trains. However, in January 2015 and despite Network Rail support, the Office of Rail Regulation refused all proposed GNWR services and the application for reasons that included protection of the revenues of Virgin Trains (the operator of the former InterCity West Coast franchise) and thence payments to the Department for Transport. Also because of capacity issues.[18] This followed a proposed in December 2013 to run services between King's Cross and Skipton via Garforth and Keighley, but was rejected in 2014, by the Office Rail of Regulation.

Alliance submitted an amended application which was accepted in August 2015, and plan from 2018 to commence operating services from London Euston to Poulton-le-Fylde after the Office of Rail and Road granted access rights for 10 years.[19][20][21]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3166214 Arriva UK Trains Limited
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 3076782 DB Regio UK Limited
  3. ^ United Kingdom – Trains Archived 2 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine Arriva business activities
  4. ^ "Train firm to get £1.6bn" BBC News 20 October 2003
  5. ^ Arriva and FirstGroup win Northern and TransPennine rail franchises The Guardian 9 December 2015
  6. ^ "Virgin loses Cross Country rail" BBC News 10 July 2007
  7. ^ "Deutsche Bahn Announces Acquisition of Laing Rail". Vector1 Media. 27 February 2008. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Deutsche Bahn buys Laing Rail" The Railway Magazine issue 1283 March 2008 page 11
  9. ^ "Foreign bids for Metro contract". BBC News. 2 February 2009. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  10. ^ "DB Regio preferred bidder for Tyne & Wear Metro operating contract". Railway Gazette International. 3 December 2009.
  11. ^ Rail Professional interview: Bob Holland Archived 6 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine Rail Professional October 2011
  12. ^ "Arriva acquires open access operator Grand Central". Railway Gazette International. London. 4 November 2011.
  13. ^ York train operator Grand Central makes loss of £8.5m York Press 23 August 2011
  14. ^ "New rail link plans to Blackpool and Carlisle rejected". BBC News. 2 March 2011.
  15. ^ Bidders to oversee improvements on rail franchises announced Department for Transport 29 March 2012
  16. ^ Caledonian sleeper train service bidders named BBC News 28 June 2013
  17. ^ Arriva pre-qualifies for Crossrail concession 25 June 2013
  18. ^ Barrow, Keith (8 January 2015). "West Coast Main Line open-access bid rejected". International Railway Journal.
  19. ^ New direct rail services between Blackpool and London Arriva 7 August 2015
  20. ^ "Alliance Blackpool Service Approved" Modern Railways issue 804 September 2015 page 8
  21. ^ UK, DVV Media. "Alliance drops Pendolino plan as Southampton paths identified". Railway Gazette. Retrieved 23 November 2017.