DfT OLR Holdings

DfT OLR Holdings

DfT OLR Holdings (DOHL) is a holding company established by the Department for Transport in the United Kingdom to act as operator of last resort for rail franchises that are nationalised.

DfT OLR Holdings History

DfT OLR Holdings was established in 2018 by the Department for Transport to operate rail franchises should it become necessary to bring them into public ownership and operate as an operator of last resort in accordance with section 30 of the Railways Act 1993. As at May 2023, the company has four active subsidiaries, London North Eastern Railway, Northern Trains, Southeastern and TransPennine Express. In May 2023 DfT OLR Holdings superseded FirstGroup as the largest operator of passenger services in the United Kingdom, generating 23% of passenger revenue and 26% of passenger miles.

DfT OLR Holdings Subsidiaries

DOHL has a number of active and dormant subsidiaries.

London North Eastern Railway

On 24 June 2018, London North Eastern Railway took over the InterCity East Coast franchise from Virgin Trains East Coast after the latter ran into financial difficulty.

DfT OLR Holdings Train Fleet

Train Fleet (2019) Limited was established in August 2019 to take ownership of 40 Class 365 units from Eversholt Rail Group. This arose from a complex financial arrangement, struck during the privatisation of British Rail by the British Railways Board when the trains were financed by financial institutions, that gave Eversholt the option to pass on their lease liabilities back to the government. In July 2021, all were sold back to Eversholt after termination of their leases with Govia Thameslink Railway was agreed.

  • Northern Trains

On 1 March 2020, Northern Trains took over the Northern franchise from Arriva Rail North after the latter became financially unviable.

  • Southeastern

On 17 October 2021, Southeastern took over the South Eastern franchise from Govia after financial irregularities were uncovered.

  • TransPennine Express

On 28 May 2023, TransPennine Express took over the operation of Transpennine services after FirstGroup's TransPennine Express contract was not renewed after repeated customer complaints of poor service and cancelled trains, as well as having the highest rate of cancellations of any train operating company in January and February 2023 with about a quarter of services being cancelled.

DfT OLR Holdings Overview

DfT OLR Holdings Type: Holding company
DfT OLR Holdings Industry: Rail transport
DfT OLR Holdings Founded: 2018
DfT OLR Holdings Headquarters: London, England
DfT OLR Holdings Area Served: United Kingdom
DfT OLR Holdings Key People:
Richard George (Chairman)
Robin Gisby (CEO)

DfT OLR Holdings Services: Train operating company management
DfT OLR Holdings Revenue: £2.2 billion (2022)
DfT OLR Holdings Operating Income: £20 million (2022)
DfT OLR Holdings Net Income: £22 million (2022)
DfT OLR Holdings Number of Employees: 11 (2022)
DfT OLR Holdings Parent: Department for Transport
DfT OLR Holdings Subsidiaries:
London North Eastern Railway
Northern Trains
TransPennine Express


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