National Rail is a company-wide brand name of the represented in the Association of Train Operating Companies British railway companies. The brand name and the collecting society are jointly owned by these companies, which have emerged from the privatization of the State Railways British Rail. The term is usually used to differentiate themselves from those web sites that do not have their origin at British Rail. This distinction is important because the member firms of National Rail have a common tariff system and their tickets among themselves recognize (whose validity is not normally extends indeed to offers from non-members, but are separated applicable also on lines not actually covered by the offer, through offered tickets).
Difference between National Rail and Network Rail
The term National Rail is not to be confused with the concept of Network Rail. National Rail is a brand name used to describe the totality of all passenger transport offers the most rail companies. Network Rail is, however, as a railway infrastructure company is a legal person, which has the fixed assets on the British railway network.
The networks of National Rail and Network Rail are very similar but not quite identical in geographical terms. On most routes by Network Rail, there are freight, on some there are only freight. Some routes are not covered by the offer of National Rail, these include in particular the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Heathrow Express, the Tyne and Wear Metro and the London Underground. Conversely, in turn, there are offers from National Rail, which do not operate on the railway network by Network Rail (for example, the East London Line of London Overground ).
See also: List of railway companies in the United Kingdom
Passenger trains on the railway network of National Rail operated by 25 privately funded railway companies. The Association of Train Operating Companies ( ATOC ) represents the common interests of the railway companies and performs some centralized functions, such as the publication of a national roadmap. National Rail used as recognition signs on buildings as well as documents such as ticket the old double arrow British Rail logo on.
Other rail service providers
The operation of British Rail never extended to Northern Ireland. This part of the country has its own railway company, the Northern Ireland Railways ( NIR). As a consequence, NIR does not belong to the network of National Rail.
Several British cities have their own subways, light rail or trams, which are also not part of the network of National Rail. These are Docklands Light Railway, Glasgow Subway, London Underground, Manchester Metrolink, Midland Metro, Nottingham Express Transit and Sheffield Supertram, Tramlink and Tyne and Wear Metro.
Likewise not linking National Rail belong Euro Star and the Heathrow Express, the fast shuttle to Heathrow Airport. In addition, there are a large number of privately owned railways or heritage railways whose tariff systems are also independent.
Tickets and tariff system
The members of National Rail use a uniform tariff system, which was acquired by British Rail. Tickets are available on the web from Network Rail between all stations and can be purchased at any station. The tickets are generally valid for all railway companies operating on the route chosen. Deviations from this rule are noted on the ticket under the field " route". Instead of "ANY PERMITTED " about " NXEA TRAINS ONLY" or " GRAND CTRL ONLY" is then noted.
This is the case on the route between London and Gatwick Airport. Give here since March 2006, three different companies ( First Capital Connect, Southern, Gatwick Express) tickets out, each valid in its own trains (there are, however, a variant that applies to all three companies). Also for routes on which Open Access TOCs operate (about Grand Central Trains), discounted TOC bound Tickets can be purchased.
Since the railway company to the customer and uniformly occur, in which the distribution of the proceeds of the Association of Train Operating Companies. Seat reservations are generally free of charge.
Currently, the so-called Integrated Transport Smartcard is inserted Organization ( ITSO ) smart card, with the use of railway infrastructure can be paid cash. In Greater London, can the National Rail network, the Oyster card already both as a time card ( travel card ) and as a single ticket ( Pay As You Go ) can be used. Readers of this are installed at every station in the London fare zones 1-9. However, this applies only for local traffic; Routes of long-distance transport within London, as of Southeastern on the High Speed 1 between St Pancras International and Stratford International, subject to a separate charge.