List of Train Companies Operating Trains in the United Kingdom

List of Companies Operating Trains in the United Kingdom
Passenger Operators in Great Britain
Operator Type,  Franchise Parent(s), Passenger satisfaction,  Start date, Replaced Code
Arriva Rail London (Trading as: London Overground) TfL concession London Overground Arriva UK Trains 87% 13 November 2016 London Overground Rail Operations LO
Avanti West Coast Franchise West Coast Partnership
FirstGroup (70%)
Trenitalia (30%)
84% 8 December 2019 Virgin Trains West Coast VT
c2c Essex Thameside Trenitalia 84% 26 May 1996 Network SouthEast (London, Tilbury & Southend Division) CC
Caledonian Sleeper Caledonian Sleeper Scottish Government 25 June 2023 First ScotRail CS
Chiltern Railways Chiltern Railways Arriva UK Trains 88% 21 July 1996 Network SouthEast (Chiltern Division) CH
CrossCountry New CrossCountry 85% 11 November 2007
Central Trains (Birmingham – Stansted), (Cardiff – Nottingham)
Virgin CrossCountry
East Midlands Railway East Midlands Abellio 83% 18 August 2019
East Midlands Trains
Northern Trains (Barton-on-Humber – Cleethorpes)
Elizabeth line TfL concession Crossrail MTR Elizabeth line 89% 31 May 2015 (as TfL Rail)
Greater Anglia (Liverpool Street – Shenfield)
Heathrow Connect
Heathrow Express (Heathrow Central – Heathrow T4 shuttle)
TfL Rail (Liverpool Street – Shenfield), (Paddington – Heathrow T4/T5)
Eurostar Open access Eurostar International 14 November 1994 ES
Govia Thameslink Railway (Trading as: Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink) Franchise Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern Govia 80% 14 September 2014
First Capital Connect
Grand Central Open access Arriva UK Trains 95% 18 December 2007 GC
Greater Anglia (also operating Stansted Express) Franchise East Anglia
Abellio (60%)
Mitsui (40%)
77% 16 October 2016 National Express East Anglia LE
Great Western Railway Greater Western FirstGroup 86% 1 April 2006
First Great Western
First Great Western Link
Wessex Trains
Heathrow Express Open access Heathrow Airport Holdings 94% 23 June 1998 HX
Hull Trains FirstGroup 92% 25 September 2002 HT
London North Eastern Railway Franchise InterCity East Coast DfT OLR Holdings 91% 24 June 2018 Virgin Trains East Coast GR
Lumo Open access FirstGroup 25 October 2021 LD
Merseyrail Merseytravel contract Merseyrail Serco-Abellio 90% 20 July 2003 Arriva Trains Merseyside ME
Northern Trains (Trading as Northern) Franchise Northern DfT OLR Holdings 77% 1 March 2020 Arriva Rail North NT
ScotRail ScotRail Scottish Government 1 April 2022 Abellio ScotRail SR
Southeastern South Eastern DfT OLR Holdings 17 October 2021 Southeastern (Govia) SE
South Western Railway (also operating Island Line) South Western
FirstGroup (70%)
MTR Corporation (30%)
75% 20 August 2017 South West Trains SW, IL
TransPennine Trains (Trading as TransPennine Express) TransPennine Express DfT OLR Holdings 28 May 2023 TransPennine Express (2016–2023) TP
Transport for Wales Rail Wales & Borders Transport for Wales 7 February 2021 KeolisAmey Wales AW
West Midlands Trains (Trading as: West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway) West Midlands
Abellio (70%)
JR East (15%)
Mitsui (15%)
79% 10 December 2017 London Midland LM
There are also a number of light rail systems.
Defunct Operating Companies
Operating companies have ceased to exist for various reasons, including withdrawal of the franchise, the term of the franchise has expired, bankruptcy or merger.
Operator Type Franchise Parent(s) Date started Date ceased Replaced by Code
Abellio ScotRail     Franchise     ScotRail     Abellio     1 April 2015     31 March 2022     ScotRail (Scottish Government)     SR
Anglia Railways Anglia     GB Railways     5 January 1997     31 March 2004     One     AR
Arriva Trains Wales     Wales & Borders      Arriva UK Trains     8 December 2003     13 October 2018     KeolisAmey Wales     AW
Arriva Trains Merseyside     Merseytravel contract     Merseyrail      February 2000     20 July 2003     Merseyrail     ME
Arriva Trains Northern     Franchise     Regional Railways North East     2 March 1997     12 December 2004     First TransPennine Express
Northern Rail     AN
Arriva Rail North     Northern     1 April 2016     29 February 2020     Northern Trains     NT
Central Trains     Central     National Express     2 March 1997      10 November 2007     CrossCountry
East Midlands Trains
London Midland
Connex South Central    Network SouthCentral     Connex     13 October 1996     16 June 2001     Southern     CX
Connex South Eastern     South Eastern      26 May 1996     9 November 2003     South Eastern Trains
East Coast     InterCity East Coast     Directly Operated Railways     14 November 2009     28 February 2015     Virgin Trains East Coast      GR
East Midlands Trains     East Midlands     Stagecoach     11 November 2007     17 August 2019     East Midlands Railway     EM
First Capital Connect     Thameslink Great Northern     FirstGroup      1 April 2006     13 September 2014     Govia Thameslink Railway     FC
First Great Eastern     Great Eastern     FirstGroup     5 January 1997     31 March 2004     National Express East Anglia     GE
First Great Western Link     Thames     FirstGroup     1 April 2004     31 March 2006     First Great Western     FK
First North Western     North West Regional Railways     FirstGroup     2 March 1997     12 December 2004
Arriva Trains Wales
First TransPennine Express
Northern Rail     NW
First ScotRail     Scotrail     FirstGroup     17 October 2004     31 March 2015     Abellio ScotRail      SR
First TransPennine Express     TransPennine Express     FirstGroup (55%) Keolis (45%)      1 February 2004     31 March 2016     TransPennine Express     TP
Gatwick Express     Gatwick Express      National Express     28 April 1996      22 June 2008     Southern     GX
Great North Eastern Railway     InterCity East Coast      Sea Containers      28 April 1996      8 December 2007     National Express East Coast      GR
Great Western Trains     Great Western     Great Western Holdings 4 February 1996     March 1998     First Great Western     GW
Heathrow Connect     Open Access    —     Heathrow Airport Holdings, FirstGroup     12 June 2005     19 May 2018     TfL Rail      HC
Island Line     Franchise       Island Line     Stagecoach     13 October 1996     3 February 2007     South West Trains     IL
London Midland     West Midlands     Govia     11 November 2007     9 December 2017     West Midlands Trains     LM
London Overground Rail Operations     TfL concession     London Overground     
Arriva UK Trains (50%)
MTR Corporation (50%)     11 November 2007     12 November 2016      Arriva Rail London     LO
Merseyrail Electrics     Merseytravel contract     Merseyrail MTL     19 January 1997     February 2000     Arriva Trains      Merseyside     ME
Midland Mainline     Franchise     Midland Main Line     National Express     28 February 1996     10 November 2007     East Midlands Trains     ML
National Express East Anglia     Greater Anglia     1 April 2004      5 February 2012     Greater Anglia     LE
National Express East Coast     InterCity East Coast     9 December 2007     13 November 2009     East Coast     GR
Northern Rail     Northern Rail     Serco-Abellio     12 December 2004     31 March 2016      Arriva Rail North     NT
Northern Spirit     Regional Railways North East     MTL     2 March 1997     February 2000     Arriva Trains Northern     NS
North Western Trains     North West Regional Railways     Great Western Holdings     2 March 1997     March 1998     First North Western     NW
ScotRail     ScotRail     National Express     31 March 1997     17 October 2004     First ScotRail     SR
Silverlink     North London Railways     2 March 1997     10 November 2007     London Midland
London Overground Rail Operations     SS
Southeastern     Integrated Kent     Govia     1 April 2006     16 October 2021     SE Trains (trading as Southeastern)     SE
South Eastern Trains     South Eastern     Strategic Rail Authority     9 November 2003     31 March 2006     Southeastern     SE
South West Trains     South Western     Stagecoach     4 February 2007     19 August 2017     South Western Railway     SW
Southern     South Central     Govia     26 August 2001     25 July 2015     Govia Thameslink Railway     SN
Thames Trains     Thames     Go-Ahead Group     13 October 1996     31 March 2004     First Great Western Link     TT
Thameslink      Thameslink     Govia     2 March 1997     31 March 2006     First Capital Connect     TR
TransPennine Express     TransPennine Express     FirstGroup     1 April 2016     28 May 2023     TransPennine Trains (trading as TransPennine Express)     TP
KeolisAmey Wales     Wales & Borders     Keolis/Amey     14 October 2018     6 February 2021     Transport for Wales Rail     AW
Valley Lines     Valley Lines     National Express     13 October 1996     13 October 2001     Wales & Borders     VL
Virgin Trains East Coast     InterCity East Coast     Virgin Group (10%)
                              Stagecoach (90%)     1 March 2015     23 June 2018     London North Eastern Railway     GR
Virgin CrossCountry     CrossCountry     Virgin Rail Group     5     January 1997     10 November 2007    CrossCountry
                                       First Trans
                                       Pennine Express
                                       Virgin Trains West Coast VXC
Virgin Trains West Coast     InterCity West Coast     9 March 1997      7 December 2019     Avanti West Coast     VT
West Anglia Great Northern (West Anglia Main Line and Lea Valley Lines)     West Anglia Great Northern     National Express     5 January 1997     31 March 2004     One     WN
West Anglia Great Northern (Great Northern and Fenline routes)     West Anglia Great Northern     National Express     5 January 1997       31 March 2006     First Capital Connect
Wales & Borders Wales & Borders National Express 14 October 2001 7 December 2003 Arriva Trains Wales WB
Wales & West     Wales & West     National Express     13 October 1996     13 October 2001
Wales & Borders     Wales & Borders     National Express     14 October 2001     7 December 2003     Arriva Trains Wales     WB
                                    Wessex Trains     WW
Wessex Trains    Wessex     National Express     14 October 2001 31 March 2006     First Great Western     WE
Wrexham & Shropshire     Open access     Wrexham to London     DB Regio     28 April 2008    28 January 2011     Ceased due to lack of profitability     WS
Passenger operators in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, passenger trains are NI/Ireland government-owned by Translink or the National Transport Authority. The following brands are used:
Northern Ireland Railways
Iarnród Éireann, who operates the Enterprise service from Dublin Connolly to Belfast Lanyon Place on the Belfast-Dublin line with Northern Ireland Railways and also 2 Northern Commuter services a day to/from Newry.
UK Railtour Operators
  • Compass Tours
  • DPS Railtours
  • Pathfinder Tours
  • Scottish Railway Preservation Society
  • Venice-Simplon Orient Express (British Pullman and Northern Belle services)
  • Vintage Trains
  • West Coast Railways
  • Locomotive Services Limited
Luxury Railtours
  • Belmond Grand Hibernian (From August 2016)
  • Steam Dreams (Emerald Isle Explorer)
In Northern Ireland
  • Enthusiast Railtours
  • Railway Preservation Society of Ireland
  • Irish Railway Record Society
  • The Modern Railway Society of Ireland
Freight Operators
  • Colas Rail
  • DCRail
  • Direct Rail Services
  • DB Cargo UK (formerly English Welsh & Scottish Railway)
  • Freightliner
  • GB Railfreight
  • Mendip Rail
Franchised Passenger Operator Structure in Great Britain
Sector of British Rail Franchise Pre-grouping company Original privatised operator Current operator(s)
  • Caledonian Sleeper    N/A    ScotRail    Caledonian Sleeper
  • East Midlands    Midland Railway    Midland Mainline    East Midlands Railway
  • Greater Western    Great Western Railway    Great Western Trains    Great Western Railway
InterCity East Coast    Great Northern Railway    Great North Eastern Railway    London North Eastern Railway
New CrossCountry    N/A    Virgin CrossCountry    CrossCountry
West Coast Partnership    London & North Western Railway    Virgin Trains West Coast    Avanti West Coast
Network SouthEast    Chiltern    Great Central Railway    Chiltern Railways
East Anglia    Great Eastern Railway    Anglia Railways    Greater Anglia
Essex Thameside    London, Tilbury & Southend Railway    LTS Rail    c2c
South Eastern    South Eastern & Chatham Railway    Connex South Eastern    Southeastern
South Western    London & South Western Railway    South West Trains    South Western Railway
                                                   Thameslink    Thameslink
                                                   Connex South Central    Southern
Network SouthEast
Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern    London, Brighton & South Coast Railway    West Anglia Great Northern     Great Northern
                                                                                   (Great Northern and Fenline routes)    (Govia Thameslink Railway)
                Connex South Central    Southern
                                        West Midlands Railway
West Midlands    N/A    Central Trains    London Northwestern Railway
                                        (West Midlands Trains)
Regional Railways
Wales & Borders            Wales & Borders    Transport for Wales Rail
TransPennine Express    Predominantly London & North Western Railway    North Western Trains    TransPennine Express
Northern             Northern Spirit    Northern Trains
ScotRail        Caledonian Railway, Glasgow & South Western Railway, Great North of Scotland Railway, Highland Railway and
North British Railway        ScotRail        ScotRail
Rail Holidays
Rail Vacations
Luxury Trains
Luxury Tours
International Trains
International Tours
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