List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom

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There are several companies operating trains in the United Kingdom. These include the operators of passenger services, which are, rather confusingly, officially referred to as "train operating companies" or TOCs, as distinct from "freight operating companies".

Passenger operators in Great Britain[change | change source]

Passenger operator structure in Great Britain[change | change source]

Sector of British Rail Division Original Privatised Operator Current Operator(s)
Intercity East Coast Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) East Coast formerly National Express East Coast
West Coast Virgin Trains Unchanged
Midland Midland Mainline East Midlands Trains (EMT)
Great Western Great Western Trains First Great Western (FGW)
Gatwick Express Gatwick Express Southern
CrossCountry CrossCountry CrossCountry (formerly Virgin Cross Country)
Great Eastern Anglia Railways National Express East Anglia Branded as ‘one’ from 2004-2008
Network SouthEast LTS Rail C2C
Chiltern Railways Unchanged
First Great Eastern (FGE) National Express East Anglia Branded as ‘one’ from 2004-2008
Thames Trains First Great Western (FGW)
Island Line Now part of South West Trains (SWT)
North London Railways (Silverlink) London Midland
London Overground
Connex South Eastern Southeastern formerly South Eastern Trains (SET)
Connex South Central Southern Branded as SouthCentral from 2000-2004
Thameslink First Capital Connect (FCC)
West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN) National Express East Anglia West Anglia (WA)
First Capital Connect (FCC) Great Northern (GN)
South West Trains (SWT) Unchanged
Regional Railways - North West North Western Trains First North Western (FNW) Northern Rail
Transpennine Express
Regional Railways - North East Northern Spirit Arriva Trains Northern
Regional Railways - Scotland ScotRail First ScotRail (FSR)
Regional Railways - South Wales and West Wales and West Wales and Borders
Wessex Trains
First Great Western (FGW)
Regional Railways - Valley Lines Valley Lines Wales and Borders Arriva Trains Wales
Regional Railways - Merseyrail electrics Merseyrail Electrics Arriva Trains Merseyside Merseyrail
Regional Railways - Central Central Trains CrossCountry
London Midland
East Midlands Trains

Current passenger operators[change | change source]

The following operate the services that comprise the National Rail network in Great Britain.

Operator Type Franchise Parent(s) Passenger satisfaction[1] Start date Expiry date Replaced
Arriva Trains Wales/
Trenau Arriva Cymru
Franchise Wales and Borders Arriva Group 87% 2003-12-088 December 2003 2018-00-002018 Wales and Borders
c2c Franchise Essex Thameside National Express Group 91% 1996-05-2626 May 1996 2011-00-0026 May 2013[2] Network SouthEast
(London, Tilbury and Southend Division)
Caledonian Sleeper Branded Service ScotRail FirstGroup 2004-10-1717 October 2004 2014-00-002014
Chiltern Railways Franchise Chiltern DB Regio 90% 1996-07-2121 July 1996 2022-00-002022 Network SouthEast (Chiltern Division)
CrossCountry Franchise Cross Country Arriva Group 84% 2007-11-1111 November 2007 2016-04-011 April 2016 Central Trains (Birmingham - Stansted & Cardiff - Nottingham route) &
Virgin Trains (Cross Country franchise)
East Coast Franchise InterCity East Coast Directly Operated Railways 89% 2009-11-1414 November 2009 2011-00-002011 National Express East Coast
East Midlands Trains Franchise East Midlands Stagecoach Group 88% 2007-11-1111 November 2007 2015-03-3131 March 2015 Central Trains (Liverpool - Norwich & East Midlands routes) & Midland Mainline
Eurostar Open-Access N/A Eurostar (U.K.) Ltd., SNCF & NMBS/SNCB 1994-11-1414 November 1994
First Capital Connect Franchise Great Northern/
Thameslink
FirstGroup 76% 2006-04-011 April 2006 2015-00-002015 Thameslink & West Anglia Great Northern (Great Northern and Fenline routes)
First Great Western Franchise Greater Western FirstGroup 82% 2006-04-011 April 2006 2016-00-002016 First Great Western, First Great Western Link, Wessex Trains
First Hull Trains Open-Access N/A First Group & Renaissance Trains 93% 2000-09-2525 September 2000 2016-00-002016
First ScotRail Franchise ScotRail FirstGroup 86% 2004-10-1717 October 2004 2014-00-002014 ScotRail
First TransPennine Express [3] Franchise TransPennine First Group & Keolis 87% 2004-02-011 February 2004 2012-00-002012/2017 Arriva Trains Northern &
First North Western
Gatwick Express Branded Service South Central Govia 2008-06-2222 June 2008 2015-07-00July 2015/July 2017
Grand Central[4] Open-Access N/A Equishare Partners 95% 2007-12-1818 December 2007 2016-00-002016
Heathrow Connect Open-Access N/A BAA & First Group 92% 2005-06-1212 June 2005
Heathrow Express Open-Access N/A BAA 93% 1998-06-2323 June 1998
Island Line Trains Branded Service South Western Stagecoach Group 2007-02-044 February 2007 2017-02-00February 2017
London Midland Franchise West Midlands Govia 86% 2007-11-1111 November 2007 2015-09-1919 September 2015 Central Trains (Birmingham routes) & Silverlink (Northampton Line)
London Overground TfL contract London Overground MTR Corporation/DB Regio 85% 2007-11-1111 November 2007 2014-00-002014/2016 Silverlink (North London Lines)
Merseyrail Merseytravel contract Merseyrail Serco Group & Abellio 93% 2003-07-2020 July 2003 2028-00-002028 Arriva Trains Merseyside
National Express East Anglia Franchise Greater Anglia National Express Group 79% 2004-04-011 April 2004 2011-03-3131 March 2011[5] 'one' brand (see below), formerly Anglia Railways, First Great Eastern & West Anglia Great Northern Railway (West Anglia Main Line and Lea Valley Lines)
Night Riviera Branded Service Greater Western First Group 2006-04-011 April 2006 2016-00-002016
Northern Rail Franchise Northern Serco Group & Abellio 82% 2004-12-1212 December 2004 2013-09-00September 2013 Arriva Trains Northern & First North Western
North Yorkshire Moors Railway Open-Access N/A Yorkshire Moors Railway Enterprises plc 2007-04-00April 2007 (additional —GrosmontWhitby services)
Southeastern Franchise Integrated Kent Govia 80% 2006-04-011 April 2006 2014-03-3131 March 2014 South Eastern Trains
Southern Franchise South Central Govia 82% 2001-08-2626 August 2001 2015-07-00July 2015/July 2017 Connex South Central
South West Trains Franchise South Western Stagecoach Group 87% 2007-02-044 February 2007 2017-02-00February 2017 South West Trains & Island Line
Stansted Express Branded service Greater Anglia National Express Group 2004-04-011 April 2004 2011-03-1131 March 2011[5]
Virgin Trains Franchise InterCity West Coast Virgin Group & Stagecoach Group 90% 1997-03-099 March 1997 2012-03-3131 March 2012 InterCity (West Coast Division)
West Coast Railway Company Open-Access N/A 1998 (additional Fort WilliamMallaig services)

There are also several heritage lines and light rail systems.

Defunct operating companies[change | change source]

A number of operating companies have ceased to exist for a number of reasons, including premature withdrawal of the franchise; the natural term of the franchise has expired; bankruptcy; or there has been a merger.

Operator Type Franchise Parent(s) Date started Date ceased Replaced by
Anglia Railways Franchise Anglia GB Railways 5 January 1997 1 April 2004 'one' (Now National Express East Anglia)
Arriva Trains
Merseyside
Franchise Merseyside Arriva Group 1999 June 2003 Merseyrail
Arriva Trains Northern Franchise Regional Railways North East Arriva Group 2001 12 December 2004 Split into Northern Rail & TransPennine Express
Central Trains Franchise Central National Express Group 2 March 1997 11 November 2007 Split into CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains & London Midland
Central Citylink Branded Service Part of Central National Express Group 2 March 1997 11 November 2007 Split into CrossCountry, East Midlands Trains & London Midland
Connex South Central Franchise South Central Connex 1996 2001 Southern
Connex South Eastern Franchise South Eastern Connex 1996 9 November 2003 South Eastern Trains
First Great Eastern Franchise Great Eastern First Group January 1997 1 April 2004 'one' (Now National Express East Anglia)
First Great
Western Link
Franchise Thames First Group April 2004 1 April 2006 Merged with First Great Western
First North Western Franchise North West Regional Railways First Group 2 March 1997 12 December 2004 Split into Northern Rail & TransPennine Express
Gatwick Express Franchise Gatwick Express National Express Group April 28, 1996 June 22, 2008 Southern (continued as sub brand)
Great North Eastern Railway (GNER) Franchise InterCity East Coast Sea Containers April 1996 08 December 2007 National Express East Coast
Great Western Trains Franchise Great Western Great Western Holdings 1996 1998 First Great Western
Island Line Franchise Island Line Stagecoach Group 1996 3 February 2007 Merged with South West Trains
Merseyrail Electrics Franchise Merseyrail MTL 1997 February 2000 Arriva Trains Merseyside
Midland Mainline Franchise Midland Main Line National Express Group April 1996 11 November 2007 East Midlands Trains
National Express East Coast Franchise InterCity East Coast National Express Group 2007-12-0909 December 2007 2009-11-1313 November 2009 East Coast
Northern Spirit Franchise Regional Railways North East MTL 1997 February 2000 Arriva Trains Northern
North Western Trains Franchise North West Regional Railways Great Western Holdings 2 March 1997 1998 First North Western
ScotRail Franchise ScotRail National Express Group 1997 17 October 2004 First ScotRail
South Eastern Trains Franchise South Eastern Strategic Rail Authority 9 November 2003 1 April 2006 Southeastern
Silverlink (previously known as North
London Railways)
Franchise North London Railways National Express Group 2 March 1997 11 November 2007 Split into London Midland & London Overground
Thames Trains Franchise Thames Go-Ahead Group October 1996 1 April 2004 First Great Western Link
Thameslink Franchise Thameslink Govia 2 March 1997 1 April 2006 First Capital Connect
Valley Lines Franchise Valley Lines National Express Group 1995 14 October 2001 Merged with Wales and Borders
Virgin Trains (Cross Country franchise) Franchise Cross Country Virgin Group & Stagecoach Group 5 January 1997 11 November 2007 CrossCountry, Virgin Trains (West Coast franchise),
First TransPennine Express
West Anglia Great Northern Railway
(West Anglia Main Line and Lea Valley Lines)
Franchise West Anglia Great Northern National Express Group April 2004 1 April 2004 'one' (Now National Express East Anglia)
West Anglia Great Northern Railway
(Great Northern and Fenline routes)
Franchise West Anglia Great Northern National Express Group April 2004 1 April 2006 First Capital Connect
Wales and Borders Franchise Wales and Borders National Express Group 14 October 2001 7 December 2003 Arriva Trains Wales
Wales and West Franchise Wales and West Prism Rail 1997 14 October 2001 Split into Wales and Borders & Wessex Trains
Wessex Trains Franchise Wessex National Express Group 14 October 2001 1 April 2006 Merged with First Great Western
Wrexham & Shropshire Open-Access Wrexham to London DB Regio/Renaissance Trains 28 April 2008 28 January 2011 Closed by parent due to lack of profitability

Future operators[change | change source]

Passenger operators in Northern Ireland[change | change source]

In Northern Ireland passenger trains are still government-owned, under the auspices of Translink. The following brands are used:

Railtour operators[change | change source]

In Northern Ireland

Freight operators[change | change source]

References[change | change source]