Documents to download

Following privatisation in 1993, British Rail was divided into two main parts: one part being the national rail infrastructure (track, signalling, bridges, tunnels, stations and depots) and the second being the operating companies whose trains run on that network.

The infrastructure is owned by Network Rail which is regulated by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). The Department for Transport (DfT) looks after passenger- and train-related matters. Train operating companies (TOCs), both passenger and freight, run the trains. In most cases the actual train is leased from a rolling stock company (ROSCO). Railway stations are owned by the network operator, most being leased to the TOC that is the main user of that station. Network Rail retains the operation of the main passenger terminals.

Information on other rail-related issues can be found on the Railways Briefings Page of the Parliament website.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Rail FAQs

    This briefing answers Frequently Asked Questions about the railways in Great Britain, including railway ownership and funding; timetabling; the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail; ticket fare increases; HS2; Northern Powerhouse Rail; and railway electrification.

    Rail FAQs
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail

    This briefing provides an overview of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), a programme of strategic rail investments designed to improve connectivity between cities and towns in the North of England. The briefing covers the Government's proposed route, cost and schedule for the programme as well as commentary on the Government's proposals.

    Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • The future of rail

    This briefing provides an overview of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, the Government's White Paper on rail reform, and some of the key challenges ahead for the railway in Great Britain, along with an explanation of the arrangements the Government has put in place to ensure services continued to run during the Covid-19 pandemic. This briefing also provides an overview of the current system and how the railway in Great Britain has been structured over the last 30 years.

    The future of rail