Policy and Research
Train Operators in the UK
Franchise Agreements & Terminations
To directly view details for a particular Company click on Companies information page.
Arriva Trains Wales
Franchise Period: 2003 - 2018
Arriva Trains Wales operates a mix of long distance, regional and local rural services in Wales,including the Valley Lines network of services around Cardiff, and also in the English border counties and to Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
(National Express Group)
Franchise Period: 26th May 1996 to May 2013
c2c operates an intensive, mainly commuter, service into London Fenchurch Street from southeast Essex.
(DB Regio UK Ltd)
Franchise Period: 3rd March 2002 to 31st December 2021
Chiltern Railways operates passenger train services along the M40 corridor between London, Marylebone and Birmingham Snow Hill and London Marylebone to Aylesbury Vale Parkway via Amersham along the London Underground Metropolitan line. Chiltern Railways also operate as far as Kidderminster and Stratford-upon-Avon.
Franchise Period: 11th November 2007 to 1st April 2016
Covering over 1,400 route miles and calling at over 100 stations – stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance, Bournemouth to Manchester and Stansted to Cardiff, CrossCountry crosses more of the country than any other train company.
(Directly Operated Railways Ltd)
East Coast operates 135 weekday long distance train services along the East Coast MainLine, linking London King's Cross, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, North East England and Scotland. The Government established a holding company, Directly Operated Railways, to take over the East Coast franchise from 23:59 on 13 November 2009.
East Midlands Trains
(Stagecoach Group Plc)
Franchise Period: 11th November 2007 - March 2015, with the last year and four months conditional upon achieving pre-set performance targets.
Operates between London, the East Midlands and Yorkshire and all the central England services linking Nottingham / Derby / Worksop / Lincoln / Cleethorpes /Skegness / Leicester / Cambridge. Also the trains between:
· Derby and Crewe/Matlock
· Liverpool and Norwich
· Doncaster and Peterborough
(Eurostar International ownership is split between the UK Government, SNCF and SNCB)
Operations Started On: 14th November 1994
Operates high speed international train services between London/Brussels/Paris (centre and Disneyland Paris), the Alps and Rhone Valley.
First Capital Connect
(First Group Plc)
Franchise Period: 1st April 2006 - 31st March 2015
First Capital Connect(FCC) operates trains on the Thameslink route between Bedford and Brighton via central London and the Sutton and Wimbledon Loop. We operate a joint service with Southeastern to Sevenoaks, Orpington and Ashford International via London Blackfriars. FCC also runs services on the Great Northern route between London King's Cross and Moorgate to Hertford North, Peterborough, Cambridge and Kings Lynn.
First Great Western
(First Group Plc)
Franchise Period: 1st April 2006 - March 2016 (Final three years dependent on service performance achieving agreed targets)
First Great Western (FGW) operates high-speed train services between London Paddington, South Wales, the Cotswolds and the West Country. These trains serve a mix of commuting, business and leisure customers.
FGW also provides semi-fast and stopping services for commuters, business and leisure travellers, throughout the Thames and Kent Valleys, the Cotswolds, to Worcester, and on the North Downs line between Reading and Gatwick Airport, as well as a mix of long distance and local urban and rural services in the West and South West of England.
(Grand Central Railway Co Ltd)
Grand Central is an open access operator which provides direct high speed train services between London King’s Cross and Sunderland (calling at York, Thirsk, Northallerton, Eaglescliffe and Hartlepool). In May 2010 Grand Central will introduce a new direct service between London King’s Cross and Bradford (calling at Doncaster, Pontefract, Wakefield, Brighouse and Halifax).
Franchise Period: February 2012 to July 2014
Greater Anglia operates mainline trains between London, Colchester, Ipswich and Norwich andlocal trains across Norfolk, Suffolk and parts of Cambridgeshire. Also local and commuter services into London from a range of places including Ilford, Hertford, Enfield, Chingford, Romford, Southend, Chelmsford, Colchester,Clacton and Ipswich. In addition it operates the Stansted Express service. Its trains serve business and leisure travellers as well as daily commuters into London.
(First Group Plc)
Operations Started On: 25th September 2000
Hull Trains is an open access operator and provides a limited number of through trains between London Kings Cross and Hull.
Operations Started On: 23rd June 1998
Operates dedicated high speed services between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport.
Franchise Period: 11th November 2007 to 19th September 2015
London Midland operates express services between:
· London Euston, Milton Keynes and Birmingham New Street (via Northampton)
· Birmingham and Liverpool
· Birmingham and Stafford/Stoke/Crewe
· London and Crewe
Also local service groups in the West Midlands conurbation and to neighbouring towns including Redditch, Leamington Spa, Worcester, Stratford-on-Avon, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Telford and Stafford.
In addition it operates the branch lines between:
· Bletchley and Bedford
· Watford Junction and St Albans.
Franchise Period: 2007 to 2014, with a possible extension for a further two years
London Overground operates services between Richmond and Stratford via Willesden Junction,together with the Willesden Junction / Clapham Junction and Gospel Oak/Barking lines, and also local services between London and Watford Junction and the East London Railway between Highbury & Islington and West Croydon.
(Serco Ltd / NS Dutch Railways)
Franchise Period: 20th July 2003 - 19th July 2028, to be reviewed in 7 years and then every 5 years to fit with the Merseyside Local Transport Plan
Merseyrail provides services between Liverpool and Southport, Ormskirk, Kirby, Hunts Cross, New Brighton, West Kirby, Chester and Ellesmere Port. Merseyside PTE is responsible for the letting and management of the Merseyrail Electrics service.
(Serco – Abellio)
Franchise Period: 12th December 2004 - 11th September 2013
Northern Rail operates a range of inter-urban, commuter and rural services throughout the North of England, including those specified by West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Tyne & Wear (Nexus), Merseytravel and Greater Manchester PTEs.
(First Group Plc)
Franchise Period: 17th October 2004 to November 2014
ScotRail provides 95% of all passenger rail services within Scotland and has services to Carlisle and Newcastle. It also operates the overnight Caledonian Sleeper services between London and Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen and Fort William.
Franchise Start Date: May 2009 to July 2015
Southern operates predominantly commuter services between London, Surrey and Sussex, as well as services to Gatwick and Brighton, and South Coast services between Southampton,Brighton, Hastings and Ashford. It also operates Metro services in South London. Southern operates Gatwick Express which runs non-stop between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria and between Brighton and London Victoria during the weekday morning and evening peaks.
Franchise Period: 1st April 2006 to 31st March 2014
Southeastern operates all the services in the south east London suburbs, the whole of Kent and part of Sussex, which are primarily commuter services to/from central London. Since December 2009 it has also operated the UK’s first domestic high speed passenger services on the ‘HS1’ line linking points between London and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
South West Trains
(Stagecoach Group Plc)
Franchise Period: 4th February 2007 to 3rdFebruary 2017, with the final 3 years dependent on achieving performance targets
South West Trains operates trains from London Waterloo to Woking, Basingstoke, Southampton,Portsmouth, Exeter, Reading, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Guildford and Salisbury. It also runs services between Ryde and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight under theIsland Line brand.
(First Group Plc & Keolis UK Ltd)
Franchise Period: 1st February 2004 to 31st March 2015
TransPennine Express operate predominantly long distance inter-urban services linking the North East and North West England including Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and also Manchester Airport. It also operates trains between Manchester and Glasgow/ Edinburgh.
Re-franchising currently under review.
Virgin Trains operates services between Glasgow, North West England, North Wales, the West Midlands and London, and also between Birmingham and Glasgow/ Edinburgh.