|Product type||Public transport|
|Owner||Rail Delivery Group|
National Rail (NR) in the United Kingdom is the trading name licensed for use by the Rail Delivery Group, an unincorporated association whose membership consists of the passenger train operating companies (TOCs) of England, Scotland, and Wales. The TOCs run the passenger services previously provided by the British Railways Board, from 1965 using the brand name British Rail. Northern Ireland, which is bordered by the Republic of Ireland, has a different system. National Rail services share a ticketing structure and inter-availability that generally do not extend to services which were not part of British Rail.
National Rail should not be confused with Network Rail. National Rail is a brand used to promote passenger railway services, and providing some harmonisation for passengers in ticketing, while Network Rail is the organisation which owns and manages most of the fixed assets of the railway network, including tracks, stations and signals.
The two generally coincide where passenger services are run. Most major Network Rail lines also carry freight traffic and some lines are freight only. There are some scheduled passenger services on privately managed, non-Network Rail lines, for example Heathrow Express, which partly runs on Network Rail track. The London Underground also overlaps with Network Rail in places.
Twenty eight privately owned train operating companies, each franchised for a defined term by government, operate passenger trains on the main rail network in Great Britain. The Rail Delivery Group is the trade association representing the TOCs and provides core services, including the provision of the National Rail Enquiries service. It also runs Rail Settlement Plan, which allocates ticket revenue to the various TOCs, and Rail Staff Travel, which manages travel facilities for railway staff. It does not compile the national timetable, which is the joint responsibility of the Office of Rail and Road (allocation of paths) and Network Rail (timetable production and publication).
Since the privatisation of British Rail there is no longer a single approach to design on railways in Great Britain. The look and feel of signage, liveries and marketing material is largely the preserve of the individual TOCs.
However, National Rail continues to use BR's famous double-arrow symbol, designed by Gerald Burney of the Design Research Unit. It has been incorporated in the National Rail logotype and is displayed on tickets, the National Rail website and other publicity. The trademark rights to the double arrow symbol remain state-owned, being vested in the Secretary of State for Transport.
The double arrow symbol is also a generic symbol for a railway station across Great Britain, and is used to indicate a railway station on British traffic signs.
The National Rail (NR) logo was introduced by ATOC in 1999, and was used on the Great Britain public timetable for the first time in the edition valid from 26 September in that year. Rules for its use are set out in the Corporate Identity Style Guidelines published by the Rail Delivery Group, available on its website."In 1964 the Design Research Unit—Britain’s first multi-disciplinary design agency founded in 1943 by Misha Black, Milner Gray and Herbert Read—was commissioned to breathe new life into the nation’s neglected railway industry". The NR title is sometimes described as a "brand". As it was used by British Rail, the single operator before franchising, its use also maintains continuity and public familiarity; and it avoids the need to replace signage.
The lettering used in the National Rail logotype is a modified form of the typeface Sassoon Bold. Some train operating companies continue to use the former British Rail Rail Alphabet lettering to varying degrees in station signage, although its use is no longer universal; however it remains compulsory (under Railway Group Standards) for safety signage in trackside areas and is still common (although not universal) on rolling stock.
The British Rail typefaces of choice from 1965 were Helvetica and Univers, with others (particularly Frutiger) coming into use during the sectorisation period after 1983. TOCs may use what they like: examples include Futura (Stagecoach Group), Helvetica (FirstGroup and National Express), Frutiger (Arriva Trains Wales), Bliss (CrossCountry), and a modified version of Precious by London Midland.
Although TOCs compete against each other for franchises, and for passengers on routes where more than one TOC operates, the strapline used with the National Rail logo is 'Britain's train companies working together'.
Several conurbations have their own metro or tram systems, most of which are not part of National Rail. These include the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, London Tramlink, Blackpool Tramway, Glasgow Subway, Tyne & Wear Metro, Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram, West Midlands Metro and Nottingham Express Transit. On the other hand, the largely self-contained Merseyrail system is part of the National Rail network, and urban rail networks around Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and West Yorkshire consist entirely of National Rail services.
London Overground is a hybrid: its services are operated via a concession awarded by Transport for London, and are branded accordingly, but until 2010 all its routes used infrastructure owned by Network Rail, that is because of the East London line which was a London Underground line converted to a mainline but it is still National Rail. London Overground now also owns some infrastructure in its own right, following the reopening of the former London Underground East London line. Since all the previous LO routes were operated by National Rail franchise Silverlink until November 2007, they have continued to be shown in the National Rail timetable and are still considered to be a part of National Rail.
Heathrow Express and Eurostar are also not part of the National Rail network despite sharing of stations (Heathrow Express also share its route with GWR and TfL Rail). Northern Ireland Railways were never part of British Rail, which was limited to England, Scotland and Wales, and therefore are not part of the National Rail network.
There are many privately owned or heritage railways in Great Britain which are not part of the National Rail network and mostly operate for heritage or pleasure purposes rather than as public transport, but some have connections to National rail track.
National Rail services have a common ticketing structure inherited from British Rail. Through tickets are available between any pair of stations on the network, and can be bought from any station ticket office. Most tickets are inter-available between the services of all operators on routes appropriate to the journey being made. Operators on some routes offer operator-specific tickets that are cheaper than the inter-available ones.
Through tickets involving Heathrow Express and London Underground are also available. Oyster pay-as-you-go can be used on National Rail in Greater London from 2 January 2010.These same areas can also be journeyed to using a contactless debit/credit card. Contactless also covers some areas that oyster doesn't such as the Crossrail line to Reading, or the Thameslink station at Oakleigh Park.
Passengers without a valid ticket boarding a train at a station where ticket-buying facilities are available are required to pay the full Open Single or Return fare. On some services penalty fares apply - a ticketless passenger may be charged the greater of £20 or twice the full single fare to the next stop. Penalty Fares can be collected only by authorised Revenue Protection Inspectors, not by ordinary Guards.
National Rail distributes a number of technical manuals on which travel on the railways in Great Britain is based, such as the National Rail Conditions of Travel,via their website.
Pocket timetables for individual operators or routes are available free at staffed stations. The last official printed timetable with up to 3000 pages was published in 2007. Now the only complete print edition is published by Middleton Press (as of October 2016). A digital version of the full timetable is available as a pdf file without charge on the Network Rail website,however passengers are recommended to obtain their timetables from the individual train companies.
The National Rail Enquiries website includes a journey planner, fare and live departure information. The site is designed to complement the myriad different websites of Britain's privatised rail companies, so when users have selected which tickets they wish to buy, they are redirected to the most relevant train company website, where they can buy their tickets without booking fees.
In 2012 the website was joined by a mobile app mirroring its functionality. The app is available for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.
The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest railway system in the world. The first locomotive-hauled public railway opened in 1825, which was followed by an era of rapid expansion. Most of the track is managed by Network Rail, which in 2017 had a network of 15,811 kilometres (9,824 mi) of standard-gauge lines, of which 5,374 kilometres (3,339 mi) were electrified. These lines range from single to quadruple track or more. In addition, some cities have separate metro, light rail and tram systems. There are also many private railways, which are primarily short lines for tourists. The main rail network is connected with that of continental Europe by the Channel Tunnel and High Speed 1, which fully opened in 1994 and 2007 respectively.
The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) is the British rail industry membership body that brings together passenger and freight rail companies, Network Rail and High Speed 2.
The Oyster card is a payment method for public transport in London in the United Kingdom. A standard Oyster card is a blue credit-card-sized stored-value contactless smart card. It is promoted by Transport for London (TfL) and can be used on travel modes across London including London Underground, London Buses, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground, Tramlink, some river boat services, and most National Rail services within the London fare zones. Since its introduction in June 2003, more than 86 million cards have been used.
Southall is a railway station on the Great Western main line in Southall, London, England. It is in Travelcard Zone 4 and passenger services are provided by Great Western Railway from London Paddington and by TfL Rail to Heathrow Airport. It is 9 miles 6 chains (14.6 km) down the line from Paddington and is situated between Hanwell to the east and Hayes & Harlington to the west.
The Stansted Express is a direct train service linking London Liverpool Street to London Stansted Airport. It is a sub-brand of Greater Anglia, the current franchise operator of the East Anglia franchise.
Dartford railway station serves the town of Dartford in Kent, England. It is 17 miles 12 chains (27.6 km) down the line from London Charing Cross. Train services from the station are operated by Southeastern and Thameslink. Southeastern also manages the station. Dartford is a major interchange station in the North Kent region of the Southeastern network. Ticket barriers control access to the platforms.
A train operating company (TOC) is a business operating passenger trains on the railway system of Great Britain under the collective National Rail brand. TOCs have existed since the privatisation of the network under the Railways Act 1993.
Hanwell railway station serves Hanwell in the London Borough of Ealing. It is 7 miles 28 chains (11.8 km) down the line from London Paddington and is situated between West Ealing and Southall.
Dunston is a railway station on the Tyne Valley Line, which runs between Newcastle and Carlisle via Hexham. The station, situated 2+1⁄4 miles (4 km) west of Newcastle, serves the suburb of Dunston, Gateshead in Tyne and Wear, England. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.
Blaydon is a railway station on the Tyne Valley Line, which runs between Newcastle and Carlisle via Hexham. The station, situated 5+1⁄2 miles (9 km) west of Newcastle, serves the town of Blaydon, Gateshead in Tyne and Wear, England. It is owned by Network Rail and managed by Northern Trains.
Heworth Interchange is a Tyne and Wear Metro station in Heworth, Gateshead. It was opened in November 1979 for British Rail services, as a replacement for former stations at Felling and Pelaw, with Tyne and Wear Metro services commencing around two years later, in November 1981.
Goole railway station is a railway station in town of Goole on the Hull and Doncaster Branch in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England.
Rail Settlement Plan (RSP) is a division of the Rail Delivery Group in the United Kingdom. It provides a wide range of common services to the UK's train operating companies and third-party providers of information and retail services.
The London station group is a group of 18 railway stations served by the National Rail network in central London. Most are terminal stations, either serving major national services or local commuter routes. A small number are through-stations that are considered terminals for ticketing purposes. All current stations in the group fall within London fare zone 1. A ticket marked "London Terminals" allows travel to any station in the group via any permitted route, as determined by the National Routeing Guide.
Overground Network was a branding initiative launched in 2003 by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and Transport for London (TfL), the public transport authority in London, England. Its aim was to encourage use of National Rail services in South London. The project was a partnership between the SRA, TfL, three train operating companies, the South and West London Transport Conference (SWELTRAC) and the South East London Transport Strategy (SELTRANS). The scheme is no longer being promoted and the Overground Network project has since been abandoned.
There is no single 'discount railcard' available on the UK railway network. In addition to the large number and variety of short-term or localised promotional fares that have been available to passengers on the British railway network in recent decades, there are many permanent concessionary fare schemes available to passengers. Some of these take the form of Railcards, which can be purchased by people who qualify according to the conditions, and which give discounts for all journeys over a period; other concessions are available for individual journeys. In all cases, details of the type of concession will be printed on the passenger's travel ticket, to distinguish reduced-rate tickets from those sold at the standard full fare.
The majority of rail services in the Greater London area accept Oyster card pay as you go (PAYG) payment.
AVANTIX Mobile ("AVB") is a portable railway ticket issuing system used across the British railway network from 2001 to 2017.
The railway network of Great Britain is operated with the aid of a number of documents, which have been sometimes termed "technical manuals", because they are more detailed than the pocket-timetables which the public encounters every day. Historically, they were classified PRIVATE and not for publication, however since rail privatisation they are now more widely available, mostly in digital form, because they are produced centrally and not by the regional rail operators.
Great British Railways (GBR) is a planned state-owned public body that will oversee rail transport in Great Britain from 2023. The organisation will replace Network Rail as the operator of rail infrastructure, and will also control the contracting of train operations, the setting of fares and timetables and the collection of fare revenue in most of England. The concession contract system will replace the previous system of passenger rail franchising in Great Britain run by the Department for Transport, which collapsed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.