List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom
There are many companies operating trains in the United Kingdom, including the 23 operators of franchised passenger services, officially referred to as "train operating companies" or TOCs, as distinct from "freight operating companies".
Passenger operators in Great Britain
Franchised passenger operator structure in Great Britain
Current passenger operators
The following operate the National Rail network.
|Operator||Type||Franchise||Parent(s)||Passenger satisfaction||Start date||Expiry date||Replaced|
|Abellio Greater Anglia||Franchise||Greater Anglia||Abellio||79%||5 February 2012||15 October 2016||National Express East Anglia|
|Abellio ScotRail||Franchise||ScotRail||Abellio||86%||1 April 2015||31 March 2025||First ScotRail|
|Arriva Trains Wales||Franchise||Wales & Borders||Arriva UK Trains||87%||8 December 2003||13 October 2018||Wales & Borders|
|c2c||Franchise||Essex Thameside||National Express||91%||26 May 1996||10 November 2029||Network SouthEast
(London, Tilbury and Southend Division)
|Caledonian Sleeper||Franchise||Caledonian Sleeper||Serco||31 March 2015||31 March 2030||First ScotRail|
|Chiltern Railways||Franchise||Chiltern Railways||Arriva UK Trains||90%||21 July 1996||21 December 2021||Network SouthEast (Chiltern Division)|
|CrossCountry||Franchise||New CrossCountry||Arriva UK Trains||84%||11 November 2007||9 November 2019||Central Trains (Birmingham – Stansted & Cardiff – Nottingham route) &
Virgin Trains (CrossCountry franchise)
|East Midlands Trains||Franchise||East Midlands||Stagecoach||88%||11 November 2007||4 March 2018||Central Trains (Liverpool – Norwich & East Midlands routes) & Midland Mainline|
|Eurostar||Open access||N/A||Eurostar International Limited, SNCF & NMBS/SNCB||14 November 1994||N/A|
|First Hull Trains||Open access||N/A||FirstGroup||93%||25 September 2002||December 2019|
|TransPennine Express||Franchise||TransPennine Express||FirstGroup||83%||1 April 2016||31 March 2023||First TransPennine Express|
|Grand Central||Open access||N/A||Arriva UK Trains||95%||18 December 2007||December 2026|
|Great Western Railway||Franchise||Greater Western||FirstGroup||82%||1 April 2006||30 March 2019||First Great Western, First Great Western Link, Wessex Trains|
|Heathrow Connect||Open access||N/A||Heathrow Airport Holdings
|92%||12 June 2005|
|Heathrow Express||Open access||N/A||Heathrow Airport Holdings||93%||23 June 1998|
|London Midland||Franchise||West Midlands||Govia||86%||11 November 2007||31 October 2017||Central Trains (Birmingham routes) & Silverlink (Northampton Line)|
|London Overground||TfL concession||London Overground||MTR Corporation
Arriva UK Trains
|85%||11 November 2007||12 November 2016||Silverlink (North London Lines) & Abellio Greater Anglia (Liverpool Street-Enfield Town/Chingford/Cheshunt via Seven Sisters and Romford-Upminster )|
|Merseyrail||Merseytravel contract||Merseyrail||Serco-Abellio||93%||20 July 2003||19 July 2028||Arriva Trains Merseyside|
|Northern||Franchise||Northern||Arriva UK Trains||N/A||1 April 2016||31 March 2025||Northern Rail|
|North Yorkshire Moors Railway||Open access||N/A||Yorkshire Moors Railway Enterprises||April 2007||(additional Grosmont—Whitby services)|
|Pre Metro Operations||Open access||N/A||Parry People Movers||N/A||June 2009|
|Southeastern||Franchise||Integrated Kent||Govia||80%||1 April 2006||24 June 2018||South Eastern Trains|
|Southern / Thameslink and Great Northern||Franchise||Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern||Govia||48%||14 September 2014||September 2021|
|South West Trains||Franchise||South Western||Stagecoach||87%||4 February 2007||February 2017||South West Trains & Island Line|
|TfL Rail||TfL concession||Crossrail||MTR Corporation||N/A||31 May 2015||30 May 2023||Abellio Greater Anglia (Liverpool Street – Shenfield)|
|Virgin Trains West Coast||Franchise||InterCity West Coast||Virgin Group & Stagecoach||90%||9 March 1997||31 March 2018||InterCity (West Coast Division)|
|Virgin Trains East Coast||Franchise||InterCity East Coast||Virgin Group & Stagecoach||N/A||1 March 2015||31 March 2023||East Coast|
|West Coast Railways||Open access||N/A||1998||N/A||(Fort William—Mallaig summer "Jacobite" services and charter operations)|
Defunct operating companies
Operating companies have ceased to exist for various reasons, including withdrawal of the franchise, the term of the franchise has expired, bankruptcy or merger.
|Operator||Type||Franchise||Parent(s)||Date started||Date ceased||Replaced by|
|Anglia Railways||Franchise||Anglia||GB Railways||5 January 1997||31 March 2004||one (National Express East Anglia)|
|Franchise||Merseytravel contract||Arriva UK Trains||February 2000||20 July 2003||Merseyrail|
|Arriva Trains Northern||Franchise||Regional Railways North East||Arriva UK Trains||February 2000||12 December 2004||Northern Rail & First TransPennine Express|
|Central Trains||Franchise||Central||National Express||2 March 1997||11 November 2007||CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains & London Midland|
|Connex South Central||Franchise||South Central||Connex||13 October 1996||16 June 2001||Southern|
|Connex South Eastern||Franchise||South Eastern||Connex||26 May 1996||9 November 2003||South Eastern Trains|
|East Coast||Franchise||InterCity East Coast||Directly Operated Railways||14 November 2009||28 February 2015||Virgin Trains East Coast|
|First Capital Connect||Franchise||Thameslink Great Northern||FirstGroup||1 April 2006||13 September 2014||Thameslink and Great Northern|
|First Great Eastern||Franchise||Great Eastern||FirstGroup||5 January 1997||31 March 2004||one (National Express East Anglia)|
|Franchise||Thames||FirstGroup||1 April 2004||31 March 2006||First Great Western|
|First North Western||Franchise||North West Regional Railways||FirstGroup||2 March 1997||12 December 2004||Northern Rail, First TransPennine Express & Arriva Trains Wales|
|First ScotRail||Franchise||Scotrail||FirstGroup||17 October 2004||31 March 2015||Abellio ScotRail|
|First TransPennine Express||Franchise||TransPennine Express||FirstGroup||01 February 2004||31 March 2016||TransPennine Express|
|Gatwick Express||Franchise||Gatwick Express||National Express||28 April 1996||22 June 2008||Southern|
|Great North Eastern Railway||Franchise||InterCity East Coast||Sea Containers||28 April 1996||8 December 2007||National Express East Coast|
|Great Western Trains||Franchise||Great Western||Great Western Holdings||4 February 1996||March 1998||First Great Western|
|Island Line||Franchise||Island Line||Stagecoach||13 October 1996||3 February 2007||South West Trains|
|Merseyrail Electrics||Merseytravel contract||Merseyrail||MTL||19 January 1997||February 2000||Arriva Trains Merseyside|
|Midland Mainline||Franchise||Midland Main Line||National Express||28 February 1996||11 November 2007||East Midlands Trains|
|National Express East Anglia||Franchise||Greater Anglia||National Express||1 April 2004||5 February 2012||Abellio Greater Anglia|
|National Express East Coast||Franchise||InterCity East Coast||National Express||9 December 2007||13 November 2009||East Coast|
|Northern Rail||Franchise||Northern||Serco-Abellio||12 December 2004||31 March 2016||Northern|
|Northern Spirit||Franchise||Regional Railways North East||MTL||2 March 1997||February 2000||Arriva Trains Northern|
|North Western Trains||Franchise||North West Regional Railways||Great Western Holdings||2 March 1997||March 1998||First North Western|
|ScotRail||Franchise||ScotRail||National Express||31 March 1997||17 October 2004||First ScotRail|
|South Eastern Trains||Franchise||South Eastern||Strategic Rail Authority||9 November 2003||31 March 2006||Southeastern|
|Silverlink (previously North
|Franchise||North London Railways||National Express||2 March 1997||11 November 2007||London Midland & London Overground|
|Southern||Franchise||South Central||Govia||26 August 2001||25 July 2015||Connex South Central|
|Thames Trains||Franchise||Thames||Go-Ahead Group||13 October 1996||31 March 2004||First Great Western Link|
|Thameslink||Franchise||Thameslink||Govia||2 March 1997||31 March 2006||First Capital Connect|
|Valley Lines||Franchise||Valley Lines||National Express||13 October 1996||13 October 2001||Wales & Borders|
|Virgin CrossCountry||Franchise||CrossCountry||Virgin Group
|5 January 1997||11 November 2007||CrossCountry, Virgin Trains (West Coast) & First TransPennine Express|
|West Anglia Great Northern
(West Anglia Main Line and Lea Valley Lines)
|Franchise||West Anglia Great Northern||National Express||5 January 1997||31 March 2004||one (National Express East Anglia)|
|West Anglia Great Northern
(Great Northern and Fenline routes)
|Franchise||West Anglia Great Northern||National Express||5 January 1997||31 March 2006||First Capital Connect|
|Wales & Borders||Franchise||Wales & Borders||National Express||14 October 2001||7 December 2003||Arriva Trains Wales|
|Wales & West||Franchise||Wales & West||Prism Rail||13 October 1996||13 October 2001||Wales & Borders & Wessex Trains|
|Wessex Trains||Franchise||Wessex||National Express||14 October 2001||31 March 2006||First Great Western|
|Wrexham & Shropshire||Open access||Wrexham to London||DB Regio
|28 April 2008||28 January 2011||Closed due to lack of profitability|
- Crossrail, a concession for the cross-London Maidenhead/Heathrow to Shenfield/Abbey Wood line. It has already taken control of its first services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield in May 2015 with the full franchise operating from 2018.
- Renaissance Trains, former shareholder in Wrexham & Shropshire, has proposed:
- Alliance Rail Holdings's Great North Western Railway (GNWR) has approval from Network Rail and the ORR to operate services between Blackpool to Queen's Park station (it has provision rights to run to Euston railway station as engineering works relating to High Speed 2 are likely to affect access into Euston) from 2018
- Go! Cooperative (GOCO) from Westbury (Wiltshire) to Birmingham Moor Street from 2014.
- East Coast Trains from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley via Stevenage, Newcastle and Morpeth. The operator would start from May 2021.
- Arriva Rail London is a future train operating company that will take over the London Overground Concession from London Overground Rail Operations Limited from the 13 November 2016 and Arriva will make improvements to the service. Arriva Won the bid in March 2016.
Passenger operators in Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland Railways
- Iarnród Éireann (One early morning commuter service from Newry to Dublin every weekday)
- Branch Line Society
- Compass Tours
- DPS Railtours
- NENTA Train Tours
- Pathfinder Tours
- Railway Touring Company
- Scottish Railway Preservation Society
- Statesman Rail
- Steam Dreams
- UK Railtours
- Venice-Simplon Orient Express (British Pullman and Northern Belle services)
- Vintage Trains
In Northern Ireland
- Enthusiast Railtours
- Railway Preservation Society of Ireland
- Irish Railway Record Society
- The Modern Railway Society of Ireland
- Luxury Railtours
- Belmond Grand Hibernian (From August 2016)
- Steam Dreams (Emerald Isle Explorer)
- Colas Rail
- Devon and Cornwall Railways
- Direct Rail Services
- DB Schenker Rail (UK) (formerly English Welsh & Scottish Railway)
- Freightliner Group
- GB Railfreight
- Mendip Rail
- National Passenger Survey Autumn 2010 Main Report
- "Pre-Qualification Process Document – Greater Anglia Franchise" (PDF). BBC News. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
- "DfT Rail franchise schedule" (PDF). Department for Transport. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- DVV Media UK. "New East Midlands direct award franchise agreed". Railway Gazette.
- In May 2010 Grand Northern services began, branded Grand Central to allow a single fleet pool to be used.
- "10 year contract extension". grandcentralrail.com.
- DVV Media UK. "Five-year direct award Great Western franchise proposed". Railway Gazette.
- "London Midland wins franchise extension". Railnews. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- Transport for London, Windsor House, 42-50 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0TL, email@example.com. "Media". tfl.gov.uk.
- "Media Centre". virgintrainseastcoast.com.
- "London Reconnections: TfL Board Meeting Summary: DLR, Overground and Other Ways of Travelling". londonreconnections.blogspot.com.
- "Glasgow Trains". Renaissance Trains. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "Humber Coast and City Railway". Renaissance Trains. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- "04/05/12 – Alliance Rail Press Release". Alliance Rail Holdings. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "GOCO Train". GOCO. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- Applications for the East Coast Main Line Office of Rail and Road 12 May 2016
- First Group to run Edinburgh to London budget rail service BBC News 12 May 2016
- VTEC and FirstGroup granted East Coast Main Line paths Railway Gazette International 12 May 2016
- Arriva wins £1.5bn London Overground contract BBC News 18 March 2016
- Transport for London announces intention to award London Overground contract to Arriva Arriva 18 March 2016
- TfL confirm London Overground contract with Arriva signed Railway Technology Magazine 18 April 2016