List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom
There are many companies operating trains in the United Kingdom, including the 22 operators of franchised passenger services, officially referred to as train operating companies (TOCs), as distinct from freight operating companies.
Passenger operators in Great Britain
|Operator||Type||Franchise||Parent(s)||Passenger satisfaction||Start date||Expiry date||Replaced||Code|
|Abellio ScotRail||Franchise||ScotRail||Abellio||90%||1 April 2015||31 March 2022||First ScotRail||SR|
|Arriva Rail London||TfL concession||London Overground||Arriva UK Trains||87%||13 November 2016||26 May 2024||London Overground Rail Operations||LO|
|Avanti West Coast||Franchise||West Coast Partnership||FirstGroup (70%)
|84%||8 December 2019||31 March 2026
Originally 31 March 2031
|c2c||Essex Thameside||Trenitalia||84%||26 May 1996||10 November 2029||Network SouthEast
(London, Tilbury & Southend Division)
|Caledonian Sleeper||Caledonian Sleeper||Serco||—||31 March 2015||31 March 2030||First ScotRail||CS|
|Chiltern Railways||Chiltern Railways||Arriva UK Trains||88%||21 July 1996||21 December 2021||Network SouthEast (Chiltern Division)||CH|
|CrossCountry||New CrossCountry||85%||11 November 2007||October 2023||Central Trains (Birmingham – Stansted & Cardiff – Nottingham route)
|East Midlands Railway||East Midlands||Abellio||83%||18 August 2019||31 March 2022
Originally 21 August 2027
|East Midlands Trains||EM|
|Eurostar||Open access||—||Eurostar International Limited||—||14 November 1994||—||ES|
|Govia Thameslink Railway (branded as: Thameslink / Southern / Great Northern / Gatwick Express)||Franchise||Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern||Govia||80%||14 September 2014||September 2021||First Capital Connect, Southern||SN, TL, GN, GX|
|Grand Central||Open access||—||Arriva UK Trains||95%||18 December 2007||December 2026||GC|
|Greater Anglia||Franchise||East Anglia||Abellio (60%)
|77%||16 October 2016||October 2025||National Express East Anglia||LE|
|Great Western Railway||Greater Western||FirstGroup||86%||1 April 2006||31 March 2023||First Great Western
First Great Western Link
|Heathrow Express||Open access||—||Heathrow Airport Holdings||94%||23 June 1998||—||HX|
|Hull Trains||—||FirstGroup||92%||25 September 2002||December 2029||HT|
|London North Eastern Railway||Franchise||InterCity East Coast||Department for Transport||91%||24 June 2018||2025||Virgin Trains East Coast||GR|
|Merseyrail||Merseytravel contract||Merseyrail||Serco-Abellio||90%||20 July 2003||19 July 2028||Arriva Trains Merseyside||ME|
|Northern Trains||Franchise||Northern||Department for Transport||77%||1 March 2020||1 March 2022||Arriva Rail North||NT|
|Southeastern||Integrated Kent||Govia||83%||1 April 2006||16 October 2021||South Eastern Trains||SE|
|South Western Railway||South Western||FirstGroup (70%)
MTR Corporation (30%)
|75%||20 August 2017||31 March 2023
Originally 18 August 2024
|South West Trains||SW, IL|
|TfL Rail||TfL concession||Crossrail||MTR Corporation||89%||31 May 2015||30 May 2023||Greater Anglia (Liverpool Street – Shenfield)||XR|
|TransPennine Express||Franchise||TransPennine Express||FirstGroup||78%||1 April 2016||31 March 2023||First TransPennine Express||TP|
|Transport for Wales Rail||Wales & Borders||Transport for Wales||—||7 February 2021||—||Transport for Wales Rail Services||AW|
|West Midlands Trains||West Midlands||Abellio (70%)
JR East (15%)
|79%||10 December 2017||April 2026||London Midland||LM|
There are also a number of light rail systems.
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.
- TfL Rail, a concession for the cross-London Reading/Heathrow to Shenfield/Abbey Wood line. It has already taken control of its first services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield in May 2015 and services between Paddington and Heathrow in May 2018 with the full franchise operating from 2021.
- East Coast Trains from London King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley via Stevenage, Newcastle and Morpeth. Operations are planned to commence in May 2021.
Passenger operators in Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland Railways
- The Enterprise service on the Belfast-Dublin line, jointly operated by Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail)
UK Railtour operators
- Compass Tours
- DPS Railtours
- Pathfinder Tours
- Scottish Railway Preservation Society
- Venice-Simplon Orient Express (British Pullman and Northern Belle services)
- Vintage Trains
- West Coast Railways
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
- Direct Rail Services
- DB Cargo UK (formerly English Welsh & Scottish Railway)
- GB Railfreight
- Mendip Rail
Franchised passenger operator structure in Great Britain
- Passenger rail franchising in Great Britain (for detailed information about the history of each franchise)
- "National Rail Passenger Survey Spring 2020". Transport Focus. 2 July 2020. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
- 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
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "CrossCountry franchise continues until October 2023". Rail Insider. 16 October 2020. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
- "Rail franchise schedule" (PDF). Department of Transport. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- 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.
- "Railway plan puts new focus on passengers". Department for Transport. 26 March 2013.
- "Critical rail services protected in new deals for GWR and Southeastern". GOV.UK. Department for Transport. 30 March 2020. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
- £60m Hull Trains electro-diesel train deal signed Railway Gazette International 2 November 2016
- Transport for London. "Media". tfl.gov.uk.
- "FirstGroup replaces Virgin to run West Coast route". BBC Sport. 14 August 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
- "London Reconnections: TfL Board Meeting Summary: DLR, Overground and Other Ways of Travelling". londonreconnections.blogspot.com.
- 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