- Brief guide to the industry
A very brief guide to the rail industry in Britain
Most of the railway infrastructure in Britain is owned and operated by Network Rail. This includes the track and signalling.
A number of passenger train operating companies (TOCs) and freight operating companies run trains on Network Rail’s infrastructure.
Most stations are operated by a train operating company. Exceptions to this are some of the major stations that can be found in larger cities around Britain, which are operated by Network Rail.
TOCs provide their services under the terms of their franchise agreements. These are issued by the Department for Transport (DfT). The DfT is responsible for specifying the franchise terms, monitoring compliance and taking enforcement action where necessary.
As the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), we are responsible for ensuring that Network Rail complies with the conditions of its licence. We also enforce health and safety legislation on Britain’s railways.
Passenger Focus is a national rail consumer watchdog set up to look after passenger interests.
London TravelWatch looks after the interests of rail passengers travelling in and around the London area, including travel with Eurostar.
Last updated: February 2013