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Public company
Traded asLSETRN
Founded1997 (1997)
HeadquartersLondon, England
Number of locations
London, Edinburgh, Paris
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Doug McCallum (Chairman)
Clare Gilmartin (CEO)
Daniel Beutler (President, Trainline International)
ProductsTrain tickets, car hire, mobile app

Trainline, formerly branded, is an independent digital rail and coach platform.[1] It sells tickets through its website, by telephone, and through its mobile app which is available on iOS, Windows Phone and Android platforms.

Trainline's main offices are in London, Paris and Edinburgh.[2]


Former logo as

Trainline was established in 1997 by the Virgin Group and online ticket sales began in 1999. Stagecoach later purchased a 49% shareholding. In February 2004 Tranline merged with Qjump, its main competitor. Stagecoach sold out, with Virgin having a 86% shareholding in the merged company with National Express owning the other 14%.[3][4][5]

In addition to the online service provided direct to customers operated under its own brands Trainline and Qjump, it provides the website services for 8 of the 20 UK train operating companies who sell tickets online under their own brands, as well as providing a rail business travel service direct to a number of large blue chip corporations, travel management companies and travel agents. Trainline also provides a call centre service to a number of the customers referred to above.[6]

In July 2006, Exponent Private Equity acquired Trainline.[7][8] In July 2007, Trainline acquired Advanced Smartcard Technologies and ECEBS, signalling a new strategy to enter the smartcard market. Ecebs was subsequently sold to Bell ID in November 2012.[9] In 2008, Trainline started supplying Newbury Data ND4020 rail ticket printers and self-service kiosks to its corporate and travel management clients. Customers are now able to collect a ticket from over 1,000 railway stations.[10]

The company was bought from Exponent by the private equity firm KKR in January 2015.[11] In August 2015, the company announced it had changed its name from to Trainline.[12] In 2016, Trainline extended its offer with Captain Train to include European rail routes. Since September 2016, the Captain Train website is now accessible at The Captain Train logo and the colour schemes have been changed to Trainline colours, though the interface and the product remains exactly the same.[13]

In June 2019, Trainline was floated on the London Stock Exchange.[14]


In August 2008, Trainline launched its ticket alert service. Ticket Alert enables customers to sign up for email alerts, via Trainline website, which notify them as soon as advance tickets (typically the cheaper tickets) become available for specific journeys, which the customer pre-selects.

In September 2008, Trainline relaunched its website, adding a feature known as the Best Fare Finder, which allows customers to search for the cheapest fare between selected stations on a given day.[15][non-primary source needed]

In October 2009, Trainline introduced an iPhone application that allows for journey planning, timetable download and basic station information. The updated version of the application allows tickets to be purchased via an iPhone and is available from the iTunes Store and was released in October 2010. Free versions of the app also exist for Blackberry, Android and other mobile devices.

In July 2016, Trainline introduced BusyBot an AI-based tool which uses data submitted by Trainline app users to predict where there will be free seats in train carriages.[16][non-primary source needed]

In November 2016, Trainline introduced mobile tickets for Trainline for Business customers. Mobile tickets for business are now available across 11 train operators, on every mobile ticket enabled route offered.[17][non-primary source needed]

Booking fees[edit]

Trainline operates a tiered booking fee system, where booking fees change depending on the method of booking, value of transaction and payment method. Customers are charged anywhere between £0.25 and £1.50, unless purchasing a ticket on the day of travel via the Trainline app when there typically is no fee. It is possible to buy the same tickets from the websites of the train operating companies. These websites do not usually charge booking fees.[18]

Data for Google Maps[edit]

Trainline formerly had a partnership with Google Maps to provide National Rail travel information service for mainland Britain. The service is now powered with data direct from Traveline.


The eligibility to changes or cancel tickets varies depending on the type of ticket purchased.[19] As of late 2011, users can request a refund and/or a change of journey on Trainline, and as of 2016 refunds are available in some cases via Trainline's apps.[20] Companies can choose to charge an administration fee of up to £10 according to the National Rail Conditions of Travel for refunds, unless it is as a result of an abandoned journey caused by operational disruption or cancelled train.[21] Trainline chooses to automatically charge £10 for every ticket refunded (excluding advance singles which are non refundable) unless it is due to an abandoned journey caused by operational disruption or a customer choosing not to travel due to a cancelled trains, in which case most ticket types are fully refundable including advance singles.

See also[edit]

Atos's WebTIS product is Trainline's main competitor in train booking software.


  1. ^ "About us - Trainline". Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Stagecoach Group sells shareholding n The Trainline to Virgin Group Stagecoach 9 February 2004
  4. ^ Rail booking firms set to merge BBC News 9 February 2004
  5. ^ Tranline and Qjump couple ticket sales The Daily Telegraph 10 February 2004
  6. ^ "About | How to save money on train tickets". cdate=. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  7. ^ Trainline Expnet
  8. ^ Low bids derail sale The Daily Telegraph 22 July 2012
  9. ^ "Bell ID buys Ecebs". Finextra. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Berry, Freya (22 January 2015). "U.S. fund KKR buys Trainline, derails London listing". Reuters. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Adapting for mobile users". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  13. ^ "Trainline". Trainline Blog. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  14. ^ Ticketing app Trainline looks to rase £75m from share sale BBC News 29 May 2019
  15. ^ " launches unique tool to help consumers easily uncover the cheapest rail fares" (Press release). TheTrainLine. 20 September 2008. Archived from the original on 9 October 2008. Retrieved 12 October 2008.
  16. ^ "The Beginning of BusyBot". Trainline Blog. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  17. ^ Chenery, Michelle (3 November 2016). "Mobile tickets have arrived for Trainline business customers". ITCM - Incentive Travel & Corporate Meetings. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  18. ^ "How to avoid TheTrainLine fees". Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "trainline on Twitter". Retrieved 9 September 2016.
  21. ^ "National Rail Conditions of Carriage 1st October 2016" (PDF).

External links[edit]