National Rail

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National Rail is a cross-company brand name of the British railway companies represented in the Rail Delivery Group . The brand name and the collecting society are jointly owned by these companies, which emerged after the privatization of the British Railways . The term is commonly used to differentiate itself from those rail services that did not originate from British Rail. This distinction is important because the member companies of National Rail have a common tariff system and recognize their tickets among each other (although their validity does not normally extend to the offers of non-members, in some cases they are also valid, continuous routes that are not actually covered by the offer Tickets offered).

Difference Between National Rail and Network Rail

The term National Rail is not to be confused with the term Network Rail . National Rail is a brand name for the entirety of all passenger transport services offered by most railway companies. Network Rail, on the other hand, as a railway infrastructure company, is a legal entity that owns the fixed facilities on the UK railway network.

The National Rail and Network Rail networks are geographically very similar, but not entirely congruent. Most of Network Rail's routes are freight, some are exclusively freight. Some routes are not covered by National Rail's service, in particular the Channel Tunnel Rail Link , Heathrow Express , Tyne and Wear Metro and London Underground . Conversely, there are offers from National Rail that do not run on the Network Rail network (e.g. the East London Line from London Overground ).

Railway companies

Ticket for the outward journey from Ryde to Shanklin , the old British Rail logo at the bottom left is easy to recognize. A second ticket is usually issued for the return journey that is included in a return ticket.

See also: List of UK Railway Companies

Passenger trains on the National Rail network are operated by 25 privately owned railway companies. The Rail Delivery Group represents the common interests of the railway companies and performs some centralized functions, such as B. the publication of a nationwide timetable. National Rail continues to use the old British Rail double-arrow logo to identify buildings and documents such as tickets.

Other rail service providers

British Rail's operations never extended to Northern Ireland . This part of the country has its own railway company, Northern Ireland Railways (NIR). As a consequence, NIR is not part of the National Rail network.

Several UK cities have their own underground , light rail or trams , which are also not part of the National Rail network. These are Docklands Light Railway , Glasgow Subway , London Underground , Manchester Metrolink , Midland Metro , Nottingham Express Transit , Sheffield Supertram , Tramlink and Tyne and Wear Metro .

Also not part of the National Rail network are Eurostar and Heathrow Express , the fast shuttle to London Heathrow Airport . In addition, there are a large number of privately operated railways or museum railways whose tariff systems are also independent.

Tickets and tariff system

National Rail members use a unified tariff system adopted by British Rail. Tickets are available between all stations on the Network Rail network and can be purchased at any station. The tickets are generally valid for all railway companies operating on the selected route. Deviations from this rule are noted on the ticket under the "Route" field. Instead of “ANY PERMITTED”, “ NXEA TRAINS ONLY” or “ GRAND CTRL ONLY” is then noted.

This is the case, for example, on the route between London and London Gatwick Airport . Since March 2006, three different companies (First Capital Connect, Southern, Gatwick Express) have been issuing tickets that are only valid on their own trains (there is, however, a variant that is valid for all three companies). Discounted TOC-linked tickets can also be purchased for routes on which Open Access TOCs operate (e.g. Grand Central Trains).

Since the railway companies have a uniform approach to their customers, the income is distributed via the Rail Delivery Group. Seat reservations are generally free of charge.

The so-called Integrated Transport Smartcard Organization (ITSO) smartcard is currently being introduced, which can be used to make cashless payments in rail transport. In the Greater London area, the Oyster Card can already be used on the National Rail network both as a travel card and as a single ticket (Pay As You Go). Readers for this are installed at every train station in London tariff zones 1–9. However, this only applies to local transport; Long-distance routes within London, such as from Southeastern on High Speed ​​1 between St. Pancras International and Stratford International, are subject to a separate tariff.

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