UK railway station access rights

Last update 16 June 2023

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Under ordinary running, a train operator cannot call at any station (other than those it manages) at any time; it has to have an agreement in place with the station operator (in an emergency pragmatism comes into play). These station access agreements typically set out what the station operator will do, what the train operator (defined as the 'beneficiary') will do and how much the beneficiary will pay towards upkeep and operating costs. Access agreements are regulated by the ORR and are available in its public register. In theory, every station/beneficiary/SFO combination requires a separate agreement and the earliest contracts were set up this way. Later, multiple stations were dealt with in the same agreement.

General notes

The earliest station access rights pre-empted franchises in having contracts set-up between BR operating units. The early contracts ran to a fixed date, which had to be extended periodically. To simplify arrangements, later contracts settled on having expiry dates put as 'end of franchise' (the sooner of the beneficiary and SFO); the exact wording varies.

This listing shows operating companies under their legal names, whether franchised or open access, that run timetabled public services. Specifically excluded, therefore, are charter companies such as Rail express systems and West Coast Railways; these companies have generally agreed rights to all stations for most operators. Also excluded are freight companies that have station access rights for operational purposes (e.g. changing drivers). Borderline cases have the 'benefit of the doubt' and are included here. Early franchises often negotiated charter rights way outside their normal operating areas; these are included here, as are rights for service diversion to out-of-the-ordinary stations. Some diversionary or charter access rights lasted for one or two days only. Note that the existence of agreements does not necessarily mean the beneficiary ever used any given station. Occasionally, an operator has both 'normal' and charter rights simultaneously, reflecting the different conditions that apply in each circumstance.


The ORR register is incomplete. The lack of detail may be because a contract is missing, a modification is missing or either is present but some pages are missing. Additionally, the search function does not always return all results and alternative search terms, or even the same terms in a different order, are necessary. This relies on the user knowing what results to expect and modifying the search until they appear. If the results are not known they cannot be sought.

Many contract extensions are, apparently, missing from the register, particularly (but not only) concerning Wales & West Passenger Trains, Thameslink Rail and First Capital Connect.

Where agreements expire 'at the end of the franchise', it is possible that misunderstandings have crept in owing to uncertainty over service pattern changes. This is particularly true concerning the start of the First/Keolis Transpennine franchise that took over some Arriva Trains Northern and North Western Trains Company services in stages. Correction of any errors will be welcome.

Where access rights are shown multiple times under one SFO but with inferred dates, this implies that an agreement extension has not been found on the public register but it is known that trains called in this time period.


To save reworking contracts with the same conditions, it is possible to novate them from one company to another. Notavions known are:

On occasion, an operator changed its legal name. No separate novation is necessary in this instance and contracts carry forward to the new name.

Access beneficiary pages

Links go to individual operator pages; each page has links to return here. Pages allow the reader to sort by individual columns; note that the Great Western Trains and West Coast Trains pages are large and the sort takes significantly longer than other pages.


Abellio East Anglia

Abellio East Midlands

Abellio Greater Anglia

Abellio Scotrail

Anglia Railways Train Services

Arriva Rail London

Arriva Rail North

Arriva Trains Merseyside

Arriva Trains Northern

Arriva Trains Wales


c2c rail

Caledonian Sleeper

Cardiff Railway Company

Central Trains

The Chiltern Railway Company

Connex South Central

Connex South Eastern

CrossCountry Trains


DB Regio Tyne & Wear


East Coast Main Line Company

East Coast Trains

East Midlands Trains

European Passenger Services

Eurostar International

Eurostar (UK)


First Capital Connect

First Greater Western

First Great Western Link

First/Keolis Transpennine

First MTR South Western Trains

First Scotrail

First Transpennine Express

First Trenitalia West Coast Rail


Gatwick Express

Govia Thameslink Railway

Grand Central Railway Company

Great Eastern Railway

Great North Eastern Railway

Great Western Trains Company


Heathrow Express Operating Co

Hull Trains Company


InterCity East Coast


Keolis/Amey Operations


London & Birmingham Railway

London & South Eastern Railway

London Eastern Railway

London North Eastern Railway

London Overground Rail Operations

London Underground

LTS Rail


Merseyrail Electrics

Merseyrail Electrics (2002)

Midland Main Line

MTR Corporation (Crossrail)


Network SouthCentral

New Southern Railway

North London Railways

Northern Rail

Northern Spirit

Northern Trains

North West Regional Railways

North Western Trains Company

North Yorkshire Moors Railway Enterprises

NXEC Trains

NXET Trains


Pre Metro Operations


Regional Railways North East


Scotrail Railways

ScotRail Trains

Serco Caledonian Sleepers

SE Trains

Silverlink Train Services

South Central

South Eastern Trains

South West Trains

Southern Railway

Stagecoach South Western Trains


Thames Trains

Thameslink Rail

Transpennine Trains

Transport for Wales Rail

Trenitalia c2c

Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Executive


Wales & West Passenger Trains

Wealden Railway Company

West Anglia Great Northern

West Coast Trains

West Midlands Trains

Wrexham Shropshire & Marylebone Railway


XC Trains