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UK Rail

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One of the largest rail operators in the UK and the only one to run every sort of railway - long distance, regional, commuter and sleeper operations - we carried 330m passengers in 2013/14.

We operate three UK rail franchises (First Great Western, First ScotRail and First TransPennine Express) and one open access passenger rail service (First Hull Trains). We also operate the Tramlink service on behalf of Transport for London and the Heathrow Connect service with Heathrow Airport.

Since 2005 our franchises have received more than 250 awards, including First ScotRail, the 2014 Rail Business of the Year, and First TransPennine Express, the current European Intercity Operator of the Year.

We have proposed and delivered over £650m capital investment into our franchises since 2006. Since we began running rail operations, we have introduced a total of 740 additional vehicles across our various franchises, which has also led to the creation of new depot facilities and jobs.

Even through the recession our rail services have delivered growth. For example, at First TransPennine Express passenger levels have nearly doubled since 2004 – cutting taxpayer subsidy as a proportion of passenger revenue by 80% as a result. We are embracing new technology in ticketing and rolling out Wi-Fi on First Great Western and First ScotRail.

We have a great track record in rail that has proven successful through different generations of rail franchising and across a range of passenger rail operations. We remain committed to retaining a leading position in the thriving UK rail market.

Thanks to privatisation, the rail industry’s growth has been spectacular, far outstripping economic growth. The UK rail network’s performance is unmatched in other sectors and is the envy of Europe, with higher passenger kilometres travelled and passenger satisfaction scores than Germany, Holland or France.

FirstGroup is giving train passengers the first ever opportunity to earn Nectar points when booking their journeys online with a UK rail operator.

Key facts

  • 330 million passengers in 2013/14
  • 1,900 rolling stock vehicles
  • 585 stations operated by FirstGroup
  • 27,000 services a week run by our train companies