UK National Rail Contracts

A (hopefully) comprehensive listing

Last update 23 September 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.

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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.

Contractors

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]
MTR Corporation runs Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway amongst other activities
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
Franchise East Anglia
Preceded by Abellio East Anglia Ltd
Dates 19 September 2021 to 18 September 2026 (can be truncated by two years at DfT discretion)
Trading as Greater Anglia
GB timetable code LE SX (Stansted Express-branded services)
Run by Abellio East Anglia Ltd Abellio is ultimately part of NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the Dutch state railway)
Franchise West Midlands
Preceded by West Midlands Trains Ltd
Dates 19 September 2021 to 18 September 2026 (can be truncated by two years at DfT discretion)
Trading as West Midlands Railway [Birmingham area services] London Northwestern Railway [West Coast Main Line services]
GB timetable code LM (Network Rail and internal system use and ATOC use for station operation and timetable search) LN † (ATOC use only for train operator list; London Northwestern Railway-branded services) WM † (ATOC use only for train operator list; West Midlands Railway-branded services)
Run by West Midlands Trains Ltd [Abellio Abellio is ultimately part of NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen, the Dutch state railway)
/East Japan Railway Company/Mitsui & Co]
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
Trenitalia is a subsidiary of FS (Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, the Italian state railway)
West Coast Rail Ltd

Timetable change dates appear on this Rail Chronology page.