logoUK light railway operators

A (hopefully) comprehensive listing

Last update 17 April 2018

Additional information is always gratefully received, whether entirely new records (particularly historical records), or information to fill in gaps or correct errors, via the contact link under the Miscellaneous entry in the navigation bar above.  Thank you.

Please select from the links below:

Introduction | Rail franchise operators | TOC timetable codes | Light rail system operators | Railway operator service groups

This page aims to bring together in one place all UK light rail system operator activity.  Operators are listed in date order of start date.  "Run by" intends to show the legal entity running the contract ("Ltd" and similar terms have been omitted).  Owing to the complexities of modern light rail schemes where consortia are often contracted to design, build, operate and maintain, no attempt has been made to show any breakdown of shareholders nor any changes to consortia members.  In many cases, the system owner is different to the operator; this list does not include ownership details, just operators.

Dates indicate when a contract started or, for the first operator, when the system opened to the public.

System Blackpool Trams
Run by Blackpool Electric Tramway Company (29 September 1885-1892)
Blackpool Corporation/Blackpool Borough Council (1892-1986)
Blackpool Transport Services Ltd (1986-date)
Dates 29 September 1885 to date
Notes All operators are effectively the same, the system has never been tendered
 
System Tyne & Wear Metro
Run by Nexus
Dates 11 August 1980 to 31 March 2010
Superseded by DB Regio Tyne & Wear
 
System Docklands Light Railway
Run by London Regional Transport (31 August 1997 to 1992)
London Dockland Development Corporation (1992 to April 1997)
Dates 31 August 1987 to April 1997
Superseded by Serco Docklands
 
System Manchester Metrolink
Run by Greater Manchester Metro
Dates 6 April 1992 to 25 May 1997
Superseded by Serco Metrolink
 
System Sheffield Supertram
Run by South Yorkshire Supertram
Dates 21 March 1994 to 18 December 1997
Superseded by Stagecoach Supertram
 
System Docklands Light Railway
Run by Serco Docklands
Dates April 1997 to April 2004 (original contract)
April 2004 to 30 April 2006 (contract extension)
Superseded by Serco Docklands
 
System Manchester Metrolink
Run by Serco Metrolink
Dates 26 May 1997 to 14 July 2007
Superseded by Stagecoach Metrolink
 
System Sheffield Supertram
Run by South Yorkshire Supertram (trading as Stagecoach Supertram)
Dates 19 December 1997 to 2024
Notes The South Yorkshire Supertram company was sold to the successful bidder as a going concern, rather than the winner setting up a separate legal entity
 
System Midland Metro
Run by Altram LRT (a National Express subsidiary)
Dates 30 May 1999 to October 2018
Superseded by Midland Metro
 
System Croydon Tramlink
Run by Tram Operations (a FirstGroup subsidiary)
Dates 23 May 2000 to 2095? (original contract let in 1996 was for 99 years)
 
System Nottingham Express Transit
Run by Arrow Light Rail
Dates 9 March 2004 to 15 December 2011
Superseded by Nottingham Trams
Notes Original contract cut short on account of system expansion
 
System Docklands Light Railway
Run by Serco Docklands
Dates 1 May 2006 to April 2013 (original contract)
April 2013 to September 2014 (contract extension)
September 2014 to 6 December 2014 (contract extension)
Superseded by Keolis Amey Docklands
 
System Manchester Metrolink
Run by Stagecoach Metrolink (15 July 2007 to 7 August 2011)
Metrolink by RATP Dev (8 August 2011 to 24 August 2011)
Metrolink RATP Dev (25 August 2011 to 14 July 2017)
Dates 15 July 2007 to 14 July 2017
Superseded by Keolis Amey Metrolink
Notes The contract was not retendered; Stagecoach sold it on to RATP with effect from 1 August 2011.  It took a further week for RATP to rename the company.
 
System Tyne & Wear Metro
Run by DB Regio Tyne & Wear
Dates 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2017 (two year extension not exercised)
Superseded by Nexus
 
System Nottingham Express Transit
Run by Nottingham Trams
Dates 16 December 2011 to 2034
 
System Edinburgh Trams
Run by Edinburgh Trams
Dates 31 May 2014 to date
Notes Contract was originally awarded to Transdev, this was cancelled long before operations started
 
System Docklands Light Railway
Run by Keolis Amey Docklands
Dates 7 December 2014 to April 2021 (two year extension possible)
 
System Tyne & Wear Metro
Run by Nexus
Dates 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019
 
System Manchester Metrolink
Run by Keolis Amey Metrolink
Dates 15 July 2017 to July 2027
 
System Midland Metro
Run by Transport for West Midlands
Dates October 2018 to ??

Introduction | Rail franchise operators | TOC timetable codes | Light rail system operators | Railway operator service groups