UK National Rail Contracts

A (hopefully) comprehensive listing

Last update 20 May 2021

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:

National Rail Contracts (NRCs) took over from the previous franchising system from 2021. This page aims to bring together all such contract awards.

Terms used

Contract Name given by contracting authority at time of letting.
Preceded by Links to preceding contract(s) to simplify tracing operator history.
Dates The dates for which the particular contract ran. Entries are listed in order of start date. Note that most, but by no means all, contracts ran from/to 02:00/01:59 respectively to suit the railway traffic day. This listing treats the transition time as midnight of the calendar day.
Trading as Public face of a contractor or marketing title.
GB timetable code Code used to distinguish the contractor's services in the GB Passenger Railway/National Rail timetable.
Run by The 'front end' limited company (legal entity) running the contract.
Notes Any other useful or interesting information.

Franchises

Contract South West
Preceded by First MTR South Western Trains Ltd
Dates 30 May 2021 to May 2023 (two year extension option at DfT's discretion)
Trading as South Western Railway
GB timetable code SW IL (Island Line-branded services)
Run by First MTR South Western Trains Ltd [First/MTR Corporation]
Contract TransPennine Express
Preceded by First TransPennine Express Ltd
Dates 30 May 2021 to May 2023 (two year extension option at DfT's discretion)
Trading as TransPennine Express
GB timetable code TP
Run by First TransPennine Express Ltd
Contract West Coast Partnership
Preceded by First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Ltd
Dates 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2032 (planned)
Trading as Avanti West Coast
GB timetable code VT
Run by First Trenitalia West Coast Rail Ltd

Timetable change dates appear on this Rail Chronology page.