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List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom
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List of companies operating trains in the United Kingdom

Table of contents
1 UK Train Operating Companies
2 Current Passenger Operators
3 Current Passenger Operators by Owning Company
4 Defunct operating companies

UK Train Operating Companies

Since the privatisation of British Rail, trains on the British railway system are operated by several companies, mainly on the basis of a regional franchises let by the Strategic Rail Authority. Tracks and signalling are not operated by the train companies but by Network Rail (which took over from Railtrack in 2002).

The exceptions are South Eastern Trains and Translink. South Eastern Trains, which took over from Connex, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Strategic Rail Authority. The SRA hopes to award the franchise to a private operator in 2005. Translink is the Government-owned train company in Northern Ireland, where services were never privatised. A number of metropolitan railways - such as in Merseyside and Tyneside - are let by regional transport authorities.

At first glance it looks as if a large number of companies are involved in the UK's rail system. However, many of the train operating companies are in fact parts of larger companies which operate multiple franchises. The biggest are National Express Group, First Group, Virgin Trains and Arriva.

The Association of Train Operating Companies is the coordinating body of the train operating companies.

Train operators include:

Current Passenger Operators

There are also several heritage lines and light rail systems.

Current Passenger Operators by Owning Company

Defunct operating companies

A number of operating companies have ceased to exist for a number of reasons, including premature withdrawal of the franchise; the natural term of the franchise has expired; bankruptcy; or there has been a merger.