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Train Companies
Key Issues

Links and acronyms

The Central Rail Users Committee (CRUCC) is an independent passenger watchdog set up to monitor the performances of train and station operators. At a local level it operates through a series of Rail Users Consultative Committees which are coordinated nationally by the CRUCC. Resourced by OPRAF and the Secretary of State, CRUCC has the legal right to recommend improvements to the rail industry.

Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) is an independent government department responsible for the regulation of the railways. Its main function is to police Railtrack. But the regulator also monitors compliance with the terms of the licenses granted to the train operating companies. Its current chairman is Tom Winsor.

Railtrack is the company that owns the national rail infrastructure. It runs more than 20,000 miles of track, 9,000 level crossings, 750 tunnels and 2,500 stations. Railtrack provides access to its rail network and leases most of its stations to the train operating companies.

Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (OPRAF) monitors Britain's 25 passenger rail franchises. OPRAF's functions will soon be subsumed into the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) along with those of: the British Railways Board and the consumer protection functions of the Office of the Rail Regulator.

Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) is the new rail regulator set up by the government to replace OPRAF and the BRB. The Strategic Rail Authority comes into being at the end of the year. A "shadow" SRA is already in place. The powers of the SRA are set out in the Railways Bill due to go before parliament.

Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) is the trade association which represents the 25 passenger train companies. These commercial train operating companies (TOCs) were first formed when British Rail was privatised.

Advanced Railway Research Centre (ARRC) was set up as a joint venture between the British Railways Board and the University of Sheffield. The centre carries out research to assist the rail industry in technical, managerial and regulatory challenges. The BBC has commissioned a special survey from ARRC on investment in Britain's railways.

Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions (DETR): The government department responsible for the railways.

Health and Safety Executive: HM Railway Inspectorate, a division of the HSE, inspects railway safety and investigates rail accidents.

Train operating companies
Cardiff Railways
Central Trains
Chiltern Railways
Gatwick Express
First Great Eastern Railway
Great North Eastern Railway
Island Lines
Midland Mainline
Northern Ireland Railways
First North Western
First Great Western
Northern Spirit
South West Trains
Thames Trains
Virgin Trains (West Coast Trains and Cross Country Trains)

Other rail links
Docklands Light Railway
Heathrow Express
London Transport
UK Railways on the Net