Train Operating Companies

There are 23 train operating companies in the UK currently. They run various routes on the UK railways system. They include C2C, National Express, Virgin trains, South West Trains and First ScotRail. Find more about what the route they cover and get your tickets from them.

Most of these train or rail operating companies operate as franchise from Network Rail and are contracted to run a section or region of the British rail network.

They are responsible for the day to day running of trains in their route in a timely manner and seeing to the safety and comfort of the commuters. They are not responsible for track maintenance.

All the UK rail operating companies allow independent ticketing organizations run and provide ticket sales on their behalf, meaning that you can buy ticket from any of these company run route from a common ticket stand.

You can also get your train ticket directly from a train operating company, usually at a cheaper rate. We bring you top index to all the rail companies with links to their respective sites. You can buy cheap train tickets by assessing their site directly.

List Of UK Train Operating Companies

train operating companies

The Franchise to the UK train operators changes from time to time. New operators come on board every 3 to 5 years.

As at of May 2014, there are 23 train operating companies in the UK, from 26 a few years ago. The competition to retain and operate most routes remains fierce.

The following are the top 23 train operators across Britain. This number could change any time, depending on the expiration of their contracted service provision date or whether they sublet their agreement to other companies.

They are:

  1. Arriva Trains Wales
  2. C2C Rail
  3. Chiltern Railways
  4. CrossCountry (XC Trains Limited)
  5. East Coast Main Line
  6. East Midlands Trains
  7. Eurostar
  8. First Capital Connect
  9. First Great Western
  10. First ScotRail
  11. First TransPennine Express
  12. Grand Central
  13. Greater Anglia
  14. Heathrow Express
  15. Hull Trains
  16. London Midland
  17. London Overground
  18. Merseyrail
  19. Northern Rail
  20. Southern Railway
  21. Southeastern (London & South Eastern Railway)
  22. South West Trains
  23. Virgin Trains (West Coast Trains Limited

You can get your ticket directly from any of these company if they serve the area you in tend travelling through.

You could also save money on your travel by getting tickets from a fully impartial rail ticketing operator providing tickets on all routes and all train operating companies in one place to to any UK National Rail station, where you can save 43% or more on the cost of train travel if you book your ticket online compare to you booking the same journey at the station on the day of travel.

Enforcing The Rail Conditions Of Carriage

A very common reason why you may want to know which train operator runs the services on a particular route is if you want to enforce your right as it relates to the Rail Conditions of Carriage.

Once you buy a valid ticket for a particular journey, you agree in principle to be bounded by the railway condition of carriage, and so too is the train company operating the route you intend travelling on. Should you have any problem with your travel, you should contact the relevant train operating company to enfornce your right if you so desire. In brief, the following are your rights which must be protected at all times by the TOC (Train or rail Operating Companies):

  • Buying a train ticket gives you the right to travel along the route or zone speficied on the ticket
  • Up to two children under five years of age may accompany each fare-paying passenger free of charge for all or part of the paid for route indicated on the ticket
  • Where delays arise for reasons within the control of a Train Operating Company you are entitled to some form of compensation. If such delays are more than 60 minutes, then you will be entiled to at least 20% refunds of your train fare for a single journey and varying degree of compensation, depending on type of ticket held and leg of journey delayed.

You can get access to the full terms and condition of UK train operating Rail Conditions of Carriage here .

Please click on the link to a train operator above and contact individual train operator should you have specific query regarding services provided. You will need to know which train is run by which company, for example, Arriva Trains Wales as well as Arriva Cross Country, First Transpennine Express, Northern Rail, Virgin Trains and East Midlands Trains as well as Metrolink run most trains going into and out of Manchester Piccadilly Station.

UK Train Operating Companies: Have Your Say!

Which train operating company do you think is the best in your locality or even Nationally? Is there any of these Train Operating Companies you have a special thoughts or comment on? Have your say. Share your thoughts here and let's help improve the services on our railway system!

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

Stay Connected With Us

Return To Home Page From UK Train Operating Companies Page