National Rail uses the BR double arrow logo
National Rail is a brand name describing the passenger rail service previously provided by British Rail, the now defunct UK state-owned rail operator. The term is usually used to distinguish these services from other rail passenger services in the UK that do not have an ex-British Rail background. This distinction is important because the National Rail services share a common ticketing structure and ticket inter-availability that does not necessarily extend to other services.
Train operating companies
Passenger trains on the National Rail network are operated by one of 25 privately owned train operating companies (TOCs). These are:
The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) provides a common voice for the TOCs and continues to provide some centralised coordination, for example the provision of a national timetable and journey planner. National Rail continues to use BR's old double-arrow logo.
All National Rail services operate over infrastructure and track owned by Network Rail (the company which replaced the bankrupt Railtrack).
Other Passenger Rail Operators in the UK
British Rail's operations never stretched to Northern Ireland, which has its own rail operator in Northern Ireland Railways (NIR). As a consequence NIR is not part of the National Rail network.
Several UK cities have their own metro or tram systems, which are also not part of the National Rail network. These include the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, and Tramlink in London the Glasgow Subway, the Tyne and Wear Metro in the Newcastle area, the Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram, Birmingham Midland Metro, and Nottingham Express Transit.
Two recently built rail systems, Heathrow Express (run by the authority that runs Heathrow airport) and Eurostar (run in conjunction with the French and Belgian national railways), are also not part of the National Rail network.
Finally there are a significant number of privately owned and/or heritage railways, as listed in the list of British heritage and private railways, which are not part of the National Rail network.
- National Rail website (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk)
List of train operating companies from National Rail website (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/), retrieved 23rd August 2004.