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Britain's Railways 1825 - Present
Contributors:  © Reproduction prohibited  / David Webdale
Early days 1825 - 1838
The building of a railway involved the haphazard process of a private company getting a bill through parliament. Many of these bills were rejected but plenty of them went through, not always the best routes, this depended on the local MPs & landowners, for whatever reason, showing particular favouritism for a line & pulling a few strings.
The government did not control this process & there was no central planning. The government was unable to make major decisions & had no influence over the new emerging major railway companies, uneconomic lines & duplicated routes were approved & built.

Conveyance of Mails Act 1838
The government was forced to be involved in the railways when, in 1838, the state owned Post Office wanted a fair price for the carriage of the mail.
The Conveyance of Mails Act was passed in 1838 & was one of the first railway legislations.

The Regulation of Railways Act 1840
This act was passed on 10th August 1840.
The act introduced government regulation to the rapidly expanding railways.
The Railways Department of the Board of Trade was created for this.
Later became Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate.

Some of the measures were -
No railway to be opened without notice.
Returns to be made by railway companies.
Appointment of Board of Trade inspectors.
Railway byelaws to be approved by the Board.
Prohibition of drunkenness by railway employees.
Prohibition of trespass on railways.
 

British Transport Commission 1948 - 1962
The British Transport Commission was created by Clement Attlee's post-war Labour government as a part of its nationalisation programme.
The commission was to oversee railways, canals and road freight transport in Great Britain.
Its general duty under the Transport Act 1947 was to provide an efficient, adequate, economical and properly integrated system of public inland transport
& port facilities within Great Britain for passengers and goods.

The British Transport Commission came into operation on 1 January 1948.

Chairmen -
Lord Hurcomb (1947 - 1953)
Gen Sir Brian Robertson (1953 - 1961)
Dr Richard Beeching (1961 - 1963)

Its main holdings were the networks and assets of the four national regional railway companies (LNER, LMS, SR, GWR) -

Regions -

Eastern Region (ER) (Southern LNER lines)
North Eastern Region (NER) (Northern LNER lines in England and all ex LMS lines east of Skipton)
London Midland Region (LMR) (LMS lines in England and Wales and most ex LNER lines west of Skipton)
Scottish Region (ScR) (LMS and LNER lines in Scotland)
Southern Region (SR) (SR lines)
Western Region (WR) (GWR lines)

It also took over 55 other railway undertakings, 19 canal undertakings and 246 road haulage firms, as well as the work of the London Passenger Transport Board.
The nationalisation package also included the fleets of private owner wagons, which industrial companies had used to transport goods on the railway.

1955 Modernisation Plan
In 1955 a major modernisation programme costing £1.2 billion was authorised by the government.

The main areas for modernisation were -
Electrification of main lines, in the Eastern Region, Kent, Birmingham and Central Scotland.
Large scale dieselisation.
New passenger and goods rolling stock.
Re signalling and track renewal.
Closure of small number of duplicated lines lines.

The Modernisation Plan was published in December 1954, intended to bring Britain's railways into the 20th century.
A government White Paper produced in 1956 stated that modernisation would help eliminate BR's financial deficit by 1962.
The aim was to increase speed, reliability, safety and line capacity, through a series of measures which would make services more attractive to passengers and freight operators, recovering traffic that was being lost to the roads.
Unfortunately lots of different classes locomotives were bought, some experimental & marshalling yards were built when wagon load freight was already being replaced by train load workings, which do not need complex shunting and reforming. This proved costly

By the late 1950s the British Transport Commission was in  financial difficulties, mainly due to the economic performance of the railways.
It was said to have been an overly bureaucratic system of administering transport services.
It was abolished by Harold Macmillan's Conservative government under the Transport Act, 1962 and replaced by five successor bodies with effect from 1st January 1963.

Successor Bodies -
British Railways Board (railways, hotels and some shipping)
British Transport Docks Board (docks)
British Waterways Board (inland waterways)
London Transport Board (London buses and the London Underground)
Transport Holding Company (shipping, travel and road transport)

 
Railway Companies & Grouping
 
Original Yorkshire & Humberside Companies Pre Grouping Companies Grouping 1923 BTC 1948
York & Newcastle York, Newcastle & Berwick North Eastern Railway (NER) London & North Eastern (LNER) British Railways 1948
Leeds & Thirsk Leeds Northern
Leeds & Selby York & North Midland
Whitby & Pickering
Hull & Selby
East & West Yorkshire Junction
Middlesborough & Guiseborough Stockton & Darlington
Middlesborough & Redcar
Cleveland
Hull and Barnsley
Malton & Driffield
Leeds Bradford & Halifax Junction Great Northern Railway (GNR)
Bradford Wakefield & Leeds
West Yorkshire
Great Grimsby & Sheffield Junction Manchester Sheffield & Lincolnshire Great Central Railway (GCR)
Sheffield Ashton & Manchester
Sheffield & Lincs Junction
South Yorkshire
Lancashire Derbyshire & East Coast
  Great Eastern Railway (GER)
Sheffield District Railway (SDR)
North British Railway (NBR)
Great North of Scotland Railway (GNSR)
Manchester & Leeds Lancashire & Yorkshire London & North Western Railway (LNWR) London Midland & Scottish (LMS)
Leeds Dewsbury & Manchester Railway
Huddersfield & Manchester
Dearne Valley Railway
Heaton Lodge & Wortley Railway
Sheffield &Rotherham Railway Midland Railway (MR)
Leeds & Bradford Railway
North Midland Railway
North Western Railway
  North Staffordshire Railway (NSR)
Furness Railway (Furness)
Caledonian Railway (CalR)
Glasgow and South Western Railway (GSWR)
Highland Railway (HR)
Great Western Railway (GWR) Great Western (GWR)
Alexandra (Newport & S Wales) Docks & Railway (ADR)
Barry Railway (Barry)
Cambrian Railways (Cambrian)
Cardiff Railway (Cardiff)
Rhymney Railway (RhyR)
Taff Vale Railway (TVR)
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) Southern (SR)
London and South Western Railway (L&SWR)
South Eastern Railway (SER)
London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR)

The British Railways Board 1963 - 2001
The British Railways Board was created on 1 January 1963 under the Transport Act 1962 by Harold Macmillan's Conservative government.
It was to take over the railway responsibilities of the British Transport Commission, which was dissolved at the same time.
The British Railways Board was a nationalised company responsible for most railway services in Great Britain, trading under the brand name British Railways.
From 1965, British Rail. It was a statutory corporation, consisting of a chairman and nine to fifteen other members, who were appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport.
The Minister of Transport Ernest Marples announced in the House of Commons that Beeching would be the first Chairman of the British Railways Board as from 1 June.

Chairmen -
Dr Richard Beeching (1963-1965)
Sir Stanley Raymond (1965-1967)
Sir Henry Johnson (1967-1971)
Sir Richard Marsh (1971-1976)
Sir Peter Parker (1976-1983)
Sir Robert Reid (1983-1990)
Sir Bob Reid (1990-1995)
John Welsby (1995-1999)
Sir Alistair Morton (1999-2001)
 

Earnest Marples
A road builder by trade, he became the Minister of Transport between 14th October 1959 & 16th October 1964.
To avoid a conflict of interest he sold his controlling shares in his road construction company, Marples-Ridgeway Ltd, as soon as he became Minister of Transport.
He was required by law to buy back the shares after he ceased to hold office, at the original price. It was found out later that the purchaser was his wife.
In 1959 he had given the go ahead for the the M1 which Marples-Ridgeway was given the contract to build.
This originally ran from London to Nottingham, closely following the London to Nottingham railway line.
Marples closed the line leaving no other way to get from London to Nottingham than by road.

In the early 70s his assets were re valued, this was going to cost him & he had been asked to pay nearly 30 years overdue tax.
Just before the beginning of the tax year in 1975 he decided to do a runner in the middle of the night & managed to move £2 million from Britain through his Lichtenstein company.
For the next ten years the Treasury froze his assets, but  most of them were in Monaco and Lichtenstein anyway.
He was wanted for tax fraud & he was being sued by tenants of his slums & by former employees. He never returned to Britain, living the rest of his life in his French chateau.
 

Dr Richard Beeching
Chairman of the British Railways Board
In 1963 he was set on by Marples, his brief was to make the railways pay. He surveyed the network to find out which parts made profit and which parts operated at a loss.
Beeching's plans were controversial with trade unions, Labour opposition & the public, but he was unrepentant and argued that too many lines were running at a loss.
He was expected by the government to solve the railways problems quickly.
Beeching said "I suppose I'll always be looked upon as the axe man, but it was surgery, not mad chopping."
Although he had helped to modernise many aspects of the railway network, for example block trains which did not require time consuming shunting.

Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI)
In 1948 he joined ICI as Personal Technical Assistant, working on the production lines improving efficiency and reducing production costs.
He was later appointed to the Terylene Council, and eventually to the board of ICI Fibres Division.
In 1953 he went to Canada as vice-president of ICI (Canada) Ltd and given overall responsibility for a plant in Ontario.
In 1955 he became chairman of ICI Metals Division & in 1957 became ICI Technical Director & Development Director.

Return to ICI
It is unknown whether Beeching left politics by arrangement with the government or if he was sacked. Beeching was to return to ICI in June 1965.
It was revealed to the House of Commons in November 1965 that Beeching had been sacked by the Minister of Transport Tom Fraser (October 16, 1964 - December 23, 1965)
Beeching denied this, saying that he had returned early to ICI because he would not have had enough time to undertake an in depth transport study.

 

The Reshaping of British Railways - Part 1 Report
On 27 March 1963, Dr Beeching published his report on the future of the railways.
Entitled The Reshaping of British Railways it gave the first accurate description of the state of the network.
The report showed that only half the routes covered the cost of operating them & that half the stations produced about 95% of all the revenue.

So as to improve British Railway's accounts of between £115m and £147m. He asked for -
The closure of one-third of the country's 7,000 railway stations.
The withdrawal of 5,000 route miles of passenger services (annual train mileage of 68 million) saving £18m per year.
The shedding of around 70,000 British Railways jobs over three years.
The scrapping of over 330,000 goods wagons.

Click here for  list of  West Yorkshires stations
The government were quick to act on the reduction part of the plan.
Most of the closures were carried out under the Wilson Labour Government of 1964 to 1970.
 

The Reshaping of British Railways - Part 2 Maps
On 16 February 1965, Beeching announced the second stage of his reorganisation of the railways.
Of 7,500 miles of trunk railway throughout Britain, only 3,000 miles should be selected for future development & invested in.

This policy would result in traffic through Britain being routed through nine selected lines -
Traffic to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Scotland would be routed through the West Coast Main Line running to Carlisle and Glasgow.
Traffic to the north-east would be concentrated through the East Coast Main Line which was to be closed north of Newcastle.
Traffic to Wales and the West Country would go on the Great Western Main Line, then to Swansea and Plymouth.

Beeching said there was still too much duplication in the railway network -
Of the 7,500 miles of trunk routes, 3,700 miles involved a choice between two routes.
700 miles involved a choice between three routes.
A further 700 miles involved a choice between four routes.

These proposals were rejected by the government, who were not so quick to act on the investment part of the plan.
He said that closing the branch lines would save £30m but they ended up only saving £7m.
 

British Rail Sectorisation 1982
In 1982 under sectorisation, the regions of BR were phased out.

Regions to be phased out -
Eastern Region
North Eastern Region
London Midland Region
Scottish Region
Southern Region
Western Region

The organisation was converted from a regional structure to a sector based structure -
Passenger sectors -
Inter City (express services)
Network South East (London commuter services)
Regional Railways (
North West, North East, Scotland, South Wales and West, Valley Lines, Merseyrail electrics, Central )

Freight sectors -
Trainload Freight (Trainload freight coal, ballast, petroleum etc)
Railfreight Distribution (Non-trainload freight)
Freightliner (Intermodal traffic containers)
Rail Express Systems (parcels traffic)

Maintenance & Engineering Sector -
BRML (British Rail Maintenance Limited)

The new sectors were further subdivided into divisions & the BR Blue identity was phased out.
Infrastructure remained the responsibility of the Regions until the Organisation for Quality initiative in 1991 when this was also transferred to the sectors.
 

Organisation for Quality initiative 1991
Introduced on July 29 1991, it originates from the European Council Directive 91/440/EEC.
This was created to make it a legal requirement for independent companies to be able to apply for non discriminatory track access
or running powers on a European Union country's track.

The result was separating rail infrastructure from operation of rail services -
Operational autonomy for railway operators.
Separation of the infrastructure from service operations. The minimum requirement is separate accounting between the two sections.
Open access for international undertakings.
Introduction of track access charges and a sound financial basis for railway operators.

The directive is not a mandate & does not force member states to privatise their railways -
The directive “requires member states to grant the rail companies independence from government.
& introduce commercial management techniques & to separate the management of infrastructure from transport management”.
The main aim was the de-monopolisation of European railways & increasing competitiveness, i.e. liberalisation.
 

Privatisation of British Rail 1993
British Coal and British Rail (Transfer Proposals) Act 1993 -
On the 19th January 1993, the conservative government set in motion the British Coal and British Rail (Transfer Proposals) Act 1993.
This act enabled the Secretary of State to issue directions for the disposal of holdings to the relevant Board.
This act was required so as the board could legally sell off its assets within the rules of the Transport and Railways Acts.

The operations of the British Railways Board (BRB) were broken up and sold off.
This allowed  for the introduction of the Railways Act 1993.

The Railways Act 1993
-
This was was introduced by John Major's Conservative government and passed on 5 November 1993.
It provided for the restructuring of the British Railways Board (BRB).
A few residual responsibilities of the BRB remained with BRB (Residuary) Ltd.

The legislation enabled the Secretary of State for Transport John MacGregor to transfer separated parts of the railway to the private sector.
Passenger rail services were franchised to private companies i.e. Virgin, Veolia Transport & the bus companies Stagecoach and National Express.

Rolling stock & operators -
The passenger & rolling stock were owned by three rolling stock leasing companies (ROSCOs), Angel Trains, Porterbrook & HSBC Rail.
These were sold to management buyout teams.
Rolling stock operating company's own & maintain railway engines & carriages which are leased to train operating companies who operate the trains.
Passenger operators are called train operating companies or TOCs.
Freight operators are called freight operating companies.
There are now several companies operating trains on Britain's railways.

Railtrack 1994 - 2002
Railtrack took control of the railway infrastructure on 1 April 1994 & was floated on the Stock Exchange in May 1996.
British Rail's track maintenance and renewal operations were sold to private companies, who contract to Railtrack.
Railtrack was really a group of companies who owned the track, signalling, tunnels, bridges, level crossings & most stations.
The accidents at Southall in 1997 & Ladbroke Grove in 1999, exposed the effects fragmentation of the railway had on safety and maintenance.
The Hatfield crash on 17 October 2000 was the nail in the coffin for Railtrack.
The Railtrack board panicked in the wake of Hatfield, most of the engineering skill of British Rail had been sold off into the maintenance and renewal companies.
Railtrack had no idea how many more accidents were waiting to happen & hastily introduced ill informed restrictions bringing the railway to a virtual standstill.
Railtrack Group, Railtrack's parent company, went into voluntary liquidation on 18 October 2002.
 

Network Rail  2002.
The Railtrack business & £7 billion debt was sold to Network Rail for £500 million on 3rd October 2002.
Network Rail was formed by the government to acquire and own Railtrack plc.
It now owns the infrastructure, including the railway tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, level crossings and most stations.
 

BRB (Residuary) Ltd 2001 - 2013.
Successor to the British Rail Property Board, BRB dealt with the remaining land & buildings etc which were surplus to operational needs but which were omitted from the privatisation process. It was in the ultimate charge of the Department for Transport.
BRB (Residuary) Ltd (BRBR) was abolished on 30 September 2013, following the Cabinet Office’s Public bodies review.

BRBR’s continuing functions have been dispersed to various successor bodies -

The Highways Agency Historical Railways Estate
Responsible for the historical railways estate (formerly known as the Burdensome Estate).
This includes legacy bridges, abutments, tunnels, cuttings, viaducts and similar properties associated with closed railway lines, and sales.

London & Continental Railways Ltd (LCR)
Responsible for former BRBR properties with development potential, or which might be used for future railway projects, office buildings (The Axis, Birmingham; The Railway Technical Centre, Derby; Piccadilly Gate, Manchester). LCR is also acting as the managing agent on behalf of DfT for Waterloo International Terminal, North Pole International Depot and Temple Mills Bus Depot.

Network Rail
Responsible for a small number of properties closely associated with the operational railway that should have transferred during railway privatisation or which should be maintained by the owner of the operational railway, various memorials commemorating those killed in railway accidents or rail employees killed during the world wars, and Old Dalby test track in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB)
The owner and holder of the intellectual property rights of the ‘RDDS managed documentation’ (consisting of drawings and maintenance documents and reports, generally relating to rolling stock built before 1996).

The Department for Transport (DfT)
Responsible for ill health claims from former British Rail (BR) employees.

 

Present Day
As far as I know this is the state of play at present -
25 passenger train operators, 7 freight operators, 4 rolling stock operators & 1 track & signalling company.
The only remnants from British Rail are the Transport police.
 
Passenger operators after 1982 sectorisation to present
 
British Rail Sectors Original Operators Original Privatised Operators Current Operators
Intercity
(express services)
 
GNER

East Coast
formerly
National Express East Coast

Virgin Trains

Unchanged

Midlands Mainline

East Midlands Trains

Great Western Trains

First Great Western

Gatwick Express

Southern

CrossCountry

Virgin Cross Country

Anglia Railways

National Express East Anglia
Network South East
(London commuter services)
 
LTS Rail

C2C

Chiltern Railways

Chiltern

Great Eastern Railway (GER)

National Express East Anglia
formerly
First Great Eastern

Thames Trains

First Great Western

Island Line

Unchanged



North London Railways (Silverlink)

London Midland

London Overground

South Eastern

Southern

(formerly Connex South Central)

Thameslink

First Capital Connect



West Anglia Great Northern (WAGN)

National Express
East Anglia,
West Anglia



First Capital Connect
Great Northern


South West Trains

Unchanged
Regional Railways - North West First North Western
Northern Rail  (Serco & Abellio)




First Transpennine Express
Regional Railways - North East Northern Spirit Arriva Trains Northern
Regional Railways - Scotland Scotrail
First Scotrail

Regional Railways - South Wales and West

Wales and West

Wessex Trains

First Great Western

Regional Railways - Valley Lines

Valley Lines

Wales and Borders

Arriva Trains Wales

Regional Railways - Merseyrail electrics

Merseyrail Electrics

Arriva Trains Merseyside

Merseyrail





Regional Railways - Central





Central Trains

CrossCountry

London Midland

East Midlands Trains
 
Freight operators
 
Colas Rail
Seco Rail was the name of the UK subsidiary of the French railway engineering company SECO (Société d'Études et de Construction d'Outillage).
In 2000 SECO was purchased by the road building company Colas. Based mainly in France, the company has subsidiaries in the UK and Belgium.
In 2006 became a train operating company in the UK with the transportation of aggregates.
Direct Rail Services (DRS) (incorporating Stobart Rail service)
DRS was originally created by British Nuclear Fuels Limited. The company started rail operations in 1995 using five refurbished Class 20 locomotives.
DRS has expanded & has bought & refurbished several more locos of different classes. When the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) was created in April 2005, ownership of DRS was transferred from BNFL to the NDA. DRS is the only remaining publicly owned rail freight company in the UK.
DB Schenker Rail (replaced English, Welsh & Scottish Railway)
DB Schenker Rail (UK)  is the largest British rail freight company.
Originally  English, Welsh and Scottish Railway (EWS) which was acquired by Deutsche Bahn AG on 28 June 2007.
Freightliner Group Limited
Founded in 1995 & operates in the UK, Poland, and Australia. It is the second largest rail freight operator in the UK.
Freightliner Group Ltd was acquired by Arcapita from its previous owners Electra Private Equity on 13 June 2008.
First GBRf
GB Railfreight was formed in 1999 as part of the GB Railways group of companies. The company was not formed from parts of the privatised British Railways freight sectors. In 2003 First Group acquired a majority shares & the company was re branded as First GBRf.
The company was acquired by Europorte a subsidiary of the Eurotunnel Group on the 1st of June 2010.
Mendip Rail
Mendip Rail Ltd is an independent freight railway company. It is composed of Aggregate Industries (formerly Foster Yeoman) and Hanson Aggregates (previously ARC). The company operates aggregates trains from the Quarries of the Mendip Hills in South-West England to London and South-East England.
The company operates four Class 59/0 diesel locomotives owned by Aggregate Industries and four Class 59/1 locomotives owned by Hanson Aggregates.
 
Rolling Stock Operating Companies
 
Angel Trains
Created in 1994 as part of the privatisation of British rail, it was owned by the Japanese investment bank, Nomura Holdings. In 1997 it was bought by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. In 2008 the Royal Bank of Scotland sold Angel Trains to Babcock & Brown. Angel Trains Group was split. into Angel Trains International & Angel Trains Limited. Angel Trains Limited operate only in the UK, is  owned mainly by pension funds and insurance companies.
Porterbrook
Created in 1994 as part of the privatisation of British Rail. In January 1996 it was sold in a management, employee buyout. In August 1996 it was bought by Stagecoach Group. In 2000 Stagecoach sold it to Abbey National bank. After Santander's takeover of the Abbey, ownership passed to the Spanish bank.
On 27 October 2008 Abbey sold the company to a consortium of Deutsche Bank, Lloyds TSB and BNP Paribas.
HSBC Rail
Created in 1994 as part of the privatisation of British Rail, it owns a third of passenger railway locomotives, multiple units and rolling stock. HSBC Rail was established on 21 March 1994 as Eversholt Leasing.  In 1996 it was bought by Candover. In 1997 Candover sold Eversholt to Forward Trust, part of the HSBC Group. Eversholt  bought the assets for £518 million in 1996 & in 1997 the business was sold on to Forward Trust Group for £726 million, a gain of  40% over the sale price of the business from the UK Department of Transport.
QW Rail Leasing
Created in 2008 to fund the purchase of rolling stock to lease out to TOCs.
The company was formed as a joint operation between the National Australia Bank and SMBC Leasing and Finance.
 
 
Railtour Operators
 
Compass Tours
Founded in 2003 by Kevin Melia & run with his brother John Melia.
Based in Liverpool they promote the environmental advantages of rail travel & specialise in Diesel hauled excursions.
DPS Railtours
The Deltic Preservation Society was founded in 1977 to preserve class 55 locomotives after the introduction of the HSTs.
In 1982 the DPS bought two locomotives 55009 Alycidon & 55019 Royal Highland Fusilier & in 1986 they bought 55015 Tulyar.
Alycidon & Royal Highland Fusilier both re entered passenger service in May 1999 running  rail tours.
Green Express Railtours
The Green express was set up by the Huddersfield Green party as a protest to the planned closure of the Settle to Carlisle line.
The first Settle to Carlisle excursion was in 1989 & the Green express is now run as a business.
The Green Express promotes public transport and sustainable tourism.
Kingfisher Railtours
Kingfisher Railtours run steam hauled excursions including the Dalesman on the  Settle & Carlisle line, the Cumbrian Coast Fellsman,
between Carnforth & Ravenglass & The Scarborough Spa Express.
Pathfinder Tours
Pathfinder Tours was founded in 1973 by Peter Watts. The company organises tours for both rail enthusiasts, and general tours to places of interest.
In 2006 Riviera Trains purchased the parent company of Pathfinder Tours.
The new company named Pathfinder Tours Ltd was formed to operate railtours. The company uses EWS & Riviera's rolling stock & locomotives.
Retro Railtours
Retro Railtours operate tours from Huddersfield & surrounding areas for enthusiasts and day trippers.
Destinations include Edinburgh, Bath & Bristol, Carlisle & The Lake District.
Scottish Railway Preservation Society
The Scottish Railway Preservation Society is a charity. Formed in 1961, with its headquarters at Bo'ness, in central Scotland, their main aim is to preserve Scottish railway heritage. SRPS Railtours are an associated company & run charter trains on the main line within or originating in Scotland.
The SRPS own a  fleet of 29 mark 1 carriages & run tours to Mallaig & the Lincoln Christmas Market.
Spitfire Railtours
The We are a family run company dedicated to providing value for money railtours for the discerning rail traveller.
We are committed to using classic British diesel and electric locomotives on a range of routes which reflect their former "glory days".
At Spitfire Railtours cost is paramount and we strive to provide our customers with a cost effective day out.
Stobart Pullman
Originally the company was a subsidiary of Eddie Stobart Ltd. and was operated by Stobart’s rail partner, Direct Rail Services. In 2007 the Eddie Stobart Group took over the Westbury rail company Victa Westlink Rail, who owned the railtour company Hertfordshire Rail Tours as a subsidiary.
This tour company was relaunched as the Stobart Pullman in 2008. Rolling stock and traction is provided by DRS.
Venice-Simplon Orient Express
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is a private luxury train service that travels from London to Venice, & is often referred to as the Orient Express.
Founded by James Sherwood in 1982 the company comprises of 35 sleeper, restaurant & sleeper carriages, mostly dating from the 1920s and 1930s.
The company is currently owned by Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.
Vintage Trains
Vintage Trains operate main line steam train excursions & are subsidiary of Birmingham Railway Museum Trust based at Tyseley Locomotive Works.

 
 
Infrastructure
 
Network Rail
Network Rail owns the infrastructure, including the railway tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, level crossings and most stations.
It was formed by the government to acquire and own Railtrack plc. Network Rail bought Railtrack plc on 3 October 2002.
 
BR Remnants
 
British Rail Transport Police
The British Transport Police remains as the principal provider of police services on the NR & London Underground.
The BTP is in the joint ultimate charge of the Department for Transport.

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