Thames Trains

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Thames Trains
Evesham railway station - - 40286.jpg
A Thames Trains service at Evesham in 2003
Franchise(s) Thames Trains
13 October 1996 – 31 March 2004
Main region(s) Thames Valley
Other region(s) West Midlands, Cotswolds and North Downs
Fleet size 62 (Classes 165 and 166)
Stations called at Similar number to that of
First Great Western Link
National Rail abbreviation TT
Parent company Go-Ahead

Thames Trains[1] was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Go-Ahead that operated the Thames Trains franchise from October 1996 until March 2004.


The Thames Trains franchise was awarded by the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to Victory Rail Holdings,[2] a company owned by Go-Ahead (65%) and some ex British Rail managers (35%), with operations commencing on 13 October 1996.[3] Go-Ahead bought the remaining shares it didn't own in June 1998.[4]

The major incident in the history of this franchise was the Ladbroke Grove rail crash which claimed 31 lives and injured 500.


Thames Trains ran passenger services from along the Great Western Main Line from London Paddington to Greenford, Windsor & Eton Central, Marlow, Henley, Reading, Bedwyn, Oxford, Bicester Town, Worcester, Hereford and Stratford-upon-Avon. It also ran services from Reading to Basingstoke and Reading to Gatwick Airport.

In 1998 a service from Oxford to Bristol was introduced in partnership with First Great Western. This was withdrawn in 2003 at the request of the Strategic Rail Authority to relieve congestion.

Rolling stock[edit]

A Class 166 Thames Turbo Express unit at Oxford.
A Class 166 at Stratford-upon-Avon in 2002.
Pictures of various Thames Trains Thames Turbo/Turbo Express interiors and a cab shot are from 2000 to 2004 are of the following parts - (clockwise, from top left) 1st class, the driver's cab, 2nd class Class 166 seats and 2nd class Class 165 seats.
Class Image Type Top speed Number Built
mph km/h
Class 165/1 Network Turbo Reading Thames Turbo 165 class 2002.png diesel multiple unit 90 145 36 1990-1992
Class 166 Network Express Turbo Evesham railway station - - 40286.jpg diesel multiple unit 90 145 21 1992-1993


Thames Trains' fleet was maintained at Reading depot.


In April 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority invited First and Go-Ahead to bid for a two-year franchise.[5] On 4 November 2003 the Strategic Rail Authority awarded the new franchise to First with the services operated by Thames Trains transferring to First Great Western Link on 1 April 2004.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 3007943 Thames Trains Limited
  2. ^ Companies House extract company no 3147927 Victory Rail Holdings Limited
  3. ^ Go-Ahead annual report 1997 Archived 23 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Go-Ahead Group plc 28 June 1997
  4. ^ Go-Ahead annual report 1998 Archived 23 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Go-Ahead Group plc 27 June 1998
  5. ^ Go-Ahead facing Thames tussle London Evening Standard 10 April 2003
  6. ^ "Preferred Bidder Announced for New Thames Trains Franchise". 2003-12-02. Archived from the original on 2003-12-02. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  7. ^ Rail Magazine Issue 474 12 November 2003

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Network SouthEast
As part of British Rail
Operator of Thames franchise
1996 - 2004
Succeeded by
First Great Western Link