Licences issued by the Office of the Rail Regulator/Office of Rail Regulation/Office of Rail and Road (ORR)

A (hopefully) comprehensive listing

Last update 22 March 2021

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Please select a company starting letter from the list below:


This data is collated from the hidden depths of the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) web site (the ORR was previously the Office of the Rail Regulator before 5 July 2004, then the Office of Rail Regulation 5 July 2004 to 15 October 2015). There are, unfortunately, a number of errors and discrepancies within the raw data, and these are reflected here. Some of these errors and discrepancies may be explained by there being some ORR records not on line, others cannot be explained in this way (for example, an application from the East Lancashire Light Railway Company Limited apparently being received on 31 February 2002). Any transcribing errors are, of course, entirely the editor's.

Please note that licence exemption 1999 No 5 has not been omitted from this site, it was never issued by the ORR.

From about 2005, licence decisions include 'SNRP', which is a Statement of National Regulatory Provisions. This can be for passenger or freight operation. It will be noted, too, that these, together with European passenger and freight licences, can and have been applied retrospectively to existing operators, although many may later (summer 2007) have been 'unbackdated' (though different sources seem confused as to whether SNRPs of European licences were backdated or not).

Presentation conventions

Licences are granted, effectively, for all time (there are no fixed expiry/renewal dates). However, there are certain conditions under which a licence is revoked, notably ceasing business (e.g. expired passenger franchises), superseded by a later licence, or a business not carrying out any licenced activity. Revoked licences are shown with a strike-through, thus, as are licences otherwise no longer relevant.

Companies on occasion change their legal name. Sometimes these changes are reflected in the ORR register, but this is not universally the case. Known changes are shown here. A name change is taken as midnight; using Amey LG as an example, the previous name (Amey Infrastructure Services Limited) was valid until midnight late on 22 May 2008, the new name coming into effect first thing on 23 May 2008.

Additionally, control of a company can change (e.g. by being sold to another). Early on, the ORR required that these changes of control were notified to it, though it appears that after an initial flurry of activity such changes recorded are sporadic at best. Cataloguing these changes is fraught with difficulty, particularly where shareholding of various ownership tiers is concerned and is generally limited on these pages to the first 'entering privatisation' change where appropriate.

When companies apply for licences or exemptions, there is a statutory public consultation period, usually four weeks, before the final decision is made. Where details are known, this is given as 'consultation began'. The ORR has some guidance on applying for licences and exemptions, which makes interesting reading in its own right.

Entries are listed alphabetically by company name. Spaces and punctuation are ignored in determining the order and ampersands (&) are treated as though spelt 'and'.