Arriva UK Trains

Arriva UK Trains
Predecessor Arriva and DB Regio's train operations in the UK
Founded 2011
Key people
Chris Burchell (Managing Director)
Parent Arriva
Subsidiaries Alliance Rail Holdings
Arriva Rail London
Arriva TrainCare
Arriva Trains Wales
Chiltern Railways
Grand Central
DB Regio Tyne & Wear

Arriva UK Trains Limited[1] is the company that oversees Arriva's train operating companies in the United Kingdom. It gained its first franchises in February 2000. These were later lost, though several others were gained. In January 2010, with the take-over of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn, Arriva UK Trains also took over the running of those formerly overseen by DB Regio UK Limited.[2] After taking control of the Northern franchise, Arriva UK Trains now operates almost a quarter of all British train operating companies, more than rivals FirstGroup and Stagecoach.


Arriva currently runs the following railway companies:[3]


Arriva's operations

Arriva Trains Wales operates the majority of rail services in Wales. The Wales & Borders franchise runs from 7 December 2003 until 13 October 2018.[4]

CrossCountry operates long-distance cross-country routes. The New Cross Country franchise runs from 11 November 2007 until 9 November 2019.[5]

Arriva TrainCare operates train maintenance depots at Bristol, Cambridge, Crewe, Eastleigh and Newcastle.

Arriva Trains Merseyside ran urban rail services on Merseyside from February 2000 until March 2003 and Arriva Trains Northern ran local rail services in Northern England from February 2000 until December 2004. Both franchises were lost to Serco-Abellio.

London Overground Rail Operations, a 50/50 joint venture with MTR Corporation operated the London Overground concession from November 2007 until November 2016. Arriva now operate the concession in its own right as Arriva Rail London.

In April 2016, Arriva commenced operating the Northern franchise.[6]

Former DB Regio UK operations

In January 2008 it was announced that subject to regulatory approval, Deutsche Bahn would purchase Laing Rail[7][8] which had itself just started operating the London Overground concession in partnership with MTR Corporation. As a result of the Deutsche Bahn purchase, Laing Rail Limited was renamed DB Regio UK Limited in April 2008.

DB Regio UK continued to expand when in February 2009 it was shortlisted[9] and on 3 December 2009 awarded a contract to operate the Tyne & Wear Metro,[10] taking over operations on 1 April 2010.

Following the purchase of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn in August 2010, Arriva UK Trains expanded to taking over Deutsche Bahn's existing DB Regio UK division which consisted of Chiltern Railways, DB Regio Tyne & Wear, a 50% shareholding in the now closed Wrexham & Shropshire open access operation and a 50% shareholding in London Overground Rail Operations.


Post-merger growth strategy

Arriva UK Trains wishes to expand the number of UK Rail businesses it operates by developing open access operations and successfully bidding for further Department for Transport Rail Franchises.[11] As part of this strategy in November 2011 Arriva bought open-access operator Grand Cental for an undisclosed price.[12] Disappointingly in the last full financial year before the purchase, Grand Central's seven return trains a day lost £8.5m leaving an overall deficit of £35m.[13] Alliance Rail Holdings continues to develop new open access proposals following the rejection of their initial plans by the Office of Rail Regulation in 2011.[14]

During 2012 Arriva's applications to bid for the InterCity West Coast, Greater Anglia, Essex Thameside and Thameslink franchises were all rejected by the Department for Transport. Following this run of failure Arriva was publicly critical of the government's prequalification process and called for it to be abolished. However Arriva was shortlisted to bid for the aborted Greater Western franchise in March 2012[15] and the Caledonian Sleeper and Crossrail franchises in 2014.[16][17]

In June 2014 Alliance successfully concluded negotiations with Network Rail for access paths to run between Euston and Blackpool/Huddersfield and Leeds from 2017 using Pendolino trains. However, in January 2015 and despite Network Rail support, the Office of Rail Regulation refused all proposed GNWR services and the application for reasons that included protection of the revenues of Virgin Trains (the incumbent operator of the InterCity West Coast franchise) and thence payments to the Department for Transport. Also because of capacity issues.[18] This followed a proposed in December 2013 to run services between Kings Cross and Skipton via Garforth and Keighley, but was rejected in 2014, by the Office Rail of Regulation.

Alliance submitted an amended application which was accepted in August 2015, and from 2018 Grand Central will commence operating services from London Euston to Blackpool after the Office of Rail and Road granted access rights for 10 years.[19][20]


  1. Companies House extract company no 3166214 Arriva UK Trains Limited
  2. Companies House extract company no 3076782 DB Regio UK Limited
  3. United Kingdom - Trains Archived May 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Arriva business activities
  4. "Train firm to get £1.6bn" BBC News 20 October 2003
  5. "Virgin loses Cross Country rail" BBC News 10 July 2007
  6. Arriva and FirstGroup win Northern and TransPennine rail franchises The Guardian 9 December 2015
  7. "Deutsche Bahn Announces Acquisition of Laing Rail". Vector1 Media. 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
  8. "Deutsche Bahn buys Laing Rail" The Railway Magazine issue 1283 March 2008 page 11
  9. "Foreign bids for Metro contract". BBC News. 2009-02-02. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
  10. "DB Regio preferred bidder for Tyne & Wear Metro operating contract". Railway Gazette International. 2009-12-03.
  11. Rail Professional interview: Bob Holland Archived February 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Rail Professional October 2011
  12. "Arriva acquires open access operator Grand Central". Railway Gazette International. London. 4 November 2011.
  13. York train operator Grand Central makes loss of £8.5m York Press 23 August 2011
  14. "New rail link plans to Blackpool and Carlisle rejected". BBC News. 2 March 2011.
  15. Bidders to oversee improvements on rail franchises announced Department for Transport 29 March 2012
  16. Caledonian sleeper train service bidders named BBC News 28 June 2013
  17. Arriva pre-qualifies for Crossrail concession 25 June 2013
  18. Barrow, Keith (8 January 2015). "West Coast Main Line open-access bid rejected". International Railway Journal.
  19. New direct rail services between Blackpool and London Arriva 7 August 2015
  20. "Alliance Blackpool Service Approved" Modern Railways issue 804 September 2015 page 8
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