logoUK railway station access rights

Last update 1 January 2019

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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 generally have 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.  Notations known are:

  1. First Capital Connect to Govia Thameslink Railway
  2. Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Executive to DB Regio Tyne & Wear (and back again, allowed in the same novation)
  3. Railtrack to Network Rail
  4. Some Wales & West Passenger Trains rights to Cardiff Railway Company
  5. Some Cardiff Railway Company rights to Arriva Trains Wales
  6. Some London Eastern Railway rights to Abellio Greater Anglia
  7. Great North Eastern Railway to NXEC Trains
  8. NXEC Trains to East Coast Main Line Company
  9. East Coast Main Line Company to London North Eastern Railway
  10. Connex South Eastern to South Eastern Trains
  11. South Eastern Trains to London & South Eastern Railway
  12. Connex South Central to New Southern Railway
  13. South Central to Southern Railway

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.


Abellio East Anglia

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

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 Midlands Trains

European Passenger Services

Eurostar International

Eurostar (UK)


First Capital Connect

First Greater Western

First MTR South Western Trains

First Scotrail

First Thames Trains

First Transpennine Express

First/Keolis Transpennine


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

LTS Rail


Merseyrail Electrics

Merseyrail Electrics 2002

Midland Main Line

MTR Corporation (Crossrail)


Network SouthCentral

New Southern Railway

North London Railways

North West Regional Railways

North Western Trains Company

North Yorkshire Moors Railway Enterprises

Northern Rail

Northern Spirit

NXEC Trains

NXET Trains


Pre Metro Operations




Regional Railways North East




Scotrail Railways

Serco Caledonian Sleepers

Silverlink Train Services

South Central

South Eastern Trains

South West Trains

Southern Railway

Stagecoach South Western Trains


Thames Trains

Thameslink 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




Station access introduction | Rail franchises | Station operators