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Founded1997 (1997)
United Kingdom
Number of locations
London, Edinburgh, Paris
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Doug McCallum (Chairman)
Clare Gilmartin (CEO)
Jean-Daniel Guyot (President, Trainline International)
Daniel Beutler (General Manager, 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

It was created in 1997 and online ticket sales began in 1999. Trainline Ltd was formerly part of the Virgin Group and is now owned by private equity investors and management. The business expanded significantly in the 2000s, acquiring its main online competitor Qjump from National Express in February 2004.[3]

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.[4]

In July 2006, Exponent Private Equity acquired Trainline for £168 million. Trainline was bought from a consortium of shareholders that included the Virgin, Stagecoach and National Express transport groups.

In July 2007, Trainline acquired Advanced Smartcard Technologies and ECEBS Ltd, signalling a new strategy to enter the smartcard market. Ecebs was subsequently sold to Bell ID in November 2012.[5]

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 1000 railway stations.[6]

The company was bought from Exponent by the private equity firm KKR in January 2015.[7]

In August 2015, the company announced it had changed its name from to Trainline.[8]

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.[9]


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.[10]

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 January 2011, Trainline introduced a quick train times tool so that users can find train times for all national rail stations in an instant.

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.[11]

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. This means Trainline offers the widest UK mobile ticket coverage in the business market, whether that’s by train operator, fare type or route.[12]

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.[13]

Data for Google Maps[edit]

Trainline formerly had a partnership with Google Maps to provide National Rail travel information service for mainland Britain. Users of Google Maps have train route and timetable information for more than 2,500 railway stations and 170,000 trips nationwide at their fingertips, in addition 8,000 bus stops and over 250 tube stations. 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.[14] 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.[15] Companies can choose to charge an administration fee of up to £10 according to the National Rail Conditions of Carriage for refunds.[16] Trainline chooses to automatically charge £10 for every ticket refunded.

See also[edit]

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


  1. ^ "About us - Trainline". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Rail booking firms set to merge". BBC News. 9 February 2004. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
  4. ^ "About | How to save money on train tickets". Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Bell ID buys Ecebs". Finextra. 13 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Berry, Freya (22 January 2015). "U.S. fund KKR buys Trainline, derails London listing". Reuters. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Adapting for mobile users". Retrieved 4 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Trainline". Trainline Blog. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  10. ^ " 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.
  11. ^ "The Beginning of BusyBot". Trainline Blog. 2016-07-27. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
  12. ^ Chenery, Michelle (2016-11-03). "Mobile tickets have arrived for Trainline business customers". ITCM - Incentive Travel & Corporate Meetings. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
  13. ^ "How to avoid TheTrainLine fees". Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "trainline on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  16. ^ "National Rail Conditions of Carriage 1st October 2016" (PDF).

External links[edit]