TOCs Franchises and Concessions Current Commercial Franchises

Passenger Rail Franchising Companies in Great Britain (TOCs)

TOCs Franchises and Concessions Current Commercial Franchises

The following franchies are operated by commercial companies:

Commercially Operated Rail Franchises in Great Britain
Franchise TOC Owner Start Date End Date
Chiltern Chiltern Railways Arriva 21 July 1996 12 December 2027
East Midlands East Midlands Railway Transport UK Group 18 August 2019 16 October 2030
East Anglia Greater Anglia Transport UK Group (60%)
Mitsui (40%)
16 October 2016 20 September 2026
Essex Thameside c2c Trenitalia 9 November 2014 20 July 2025
Greater Western Great Western Railway FirstGroup 1 April 2006 25 June 2028
New CrossCountry CrossCountry Arriva 11 November 2007 15 October 2023
South Western South Western Railway FirstGroup (70%)
MTR Corporation (30%)
20 August 2017 28 May 2025
Thameslink, Southern
& Great Northern
Govia Thameslink Railway Govia 14 September 2014 1 April 2028
West Coast Partnership Avanti West Coast FirstGroup (70%)
Trenitalia (30%)
8 December 2019 15 October 2023
West Midlands West Midlands Trains Transport UK Group (70%)
JR East (15%)
Mitsui (15%)
10 December 2017 20 September 2026

Current Government-Operated Franchises

The following franchises are operated by the UK, Welsh or Scottish governments.

Government Operated Rail Franchises in Great Britain
Franchise TOC Owner Start Date End Date
Caledonian Sleeper Caledonian Sleeper Scottish Rail Holdings 25 June 2023  
InterCity East Coast London North Eastern Railway DfT OLR Holdings 24 June 2018  
Northern Northern Trains DfT OLR Holdings 1 March 2020 1 March 2025
ScotRail ScotRail Scottish Rail Holdings 1 April 2022  
South Eastern Southeastern DfT OLR Holdings 16 October 2021 17 October 2027
TransPennine TransPennine Express DfT OLR Holdings 28 May 2023  
Wales & Borders Transport for Wales Rail Transport for Wales 7 February 2021  

TOCs Concessions

A small number of urban railway systems are not franchised but are contracted out as a concession instead. Concession holders are paid a fee to run the service, which is usually tightly specified by the awarding authority. They do not take commercial risk, although there are usually penalties and rewards specified in the contract for large variations in performance.

Rail Concessions in Great Britain
Concession Operator(s) Start Date End Date Authority
Elizabeth line (Crossrail) MTR Elizabeth line 31 May 2015 (as TfL Rail) 30 May 2023 TfL
Docklands Light Railway Keolis (70%)
Amey (30%)
7 December 2014 - TfL
London Overground Arriva Rail London 13 November 2016 26 May 2024 TfL
Manchester Metrolink Keolis (60%)
Amey (40%)
15 July 2017 14 July 2024 TfGM
Merseyrail Serco-Abellio 23 July 2003 19 July 2028 Merseytravel
Sheffield Supertram Stagecoach December 1997 2024 SYPTE

TOCs Open-Access Operators

An open-access operator is a train operating company that is not subject to franchising or concessions, but instead purchases individual train paths from a railway infrastructure company such as Network Rail. These operators include Eurostar, Grand Central, Heathrow Express, Hull Trains, Lumo and Pre Metro Operations (providing a shuttle service on the Stourbridge Town branch line).


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