Thames Trains

Thames Trains

Thames Trains was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Go-Ahead Group, which operated the Thames Trains franchise from October 1996 until March 2004.

Thames Trains History

The Thames Trains franchise was awarded by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to Victory Rail Holdings, a company owned by Go-Ahead (65%) and some ex-British Rail managers (35%), with operations commencing on 13 October 1996. Go-Ahead bought the remaining shares it did not own in June 1998.

The Ladbroke Grove rail crash of 5 October 1999 involved a Thames Trains Class 165, which had failed to stop at a red signal. Thames Trains was fined £2 million for violations of health and safety law in connection with the incident, and was also ordered to pay £75,000 in costs.

Thames Trains Services

Thames Trains ran services along the Great Western Main Line from London Paddington to Didcot with services continuing north to Oxford, Bicester Town, Hereford and Stratford-upon-Avon. It also operated services on the Greenford, Windsor & Eton Central, Marlow, Henley and Bedwyn lines and on the Reading to Basingstoke and North Downs lines.

In 1998 a service from Oxford to Bristol was introduced in partnership with First Great Western. This was withdrawn in 2003 to relieve congestion, at the request of the Strategic Rail Authority.

Thames Trains Rolling Stock

Thames Trains inherited a fleet of near-new Class 165 and Class 166 diesel multiple units from British Rail. Because the paintwork was still under warranty, the existing Network SouthEast livery was retained with only a Thames Trains logo added. Upon the warranty expiring, a new livery of white, blue and green was introduced in 2000.

Thames Trains Fleet at End of Franchise

  • Class 165/1 Networker Turbo   DMU


  • Class 166 Networker Turbo   DMU


Thames Trains Depot

Thames Trains' fleet was maintained at Reading TMD.

Thames Trains Demise

In April 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority invited FirstGroup and Go-Ahead to bid for a two-year franchise that would coincide with the end date of the First Great Western franchise, after which both would become part of the Greater Western franchise. In November 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the new franchise to First with the services operated by Thames Trains transferring to First Great Western Link on 1 April 2004.

Thames Trains Overview

Thames Trains Franchise(s): Thames Trains
13 October 1996 - 31 March 2004

Thames Trains Main Region(s): Thames Valley
Thames Trains Other Region(s): West Midlands, Cotswolds and North Downs
Thames Trains Fleet Size: 57 (March 2004)
Thames Trains Stations Called At: 95
Thames Trains Parent Company: Go-Ahead Group
Thames Trains Reporting Mark: TT
Thames Trains Successor: First Great Western Link


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