National Rail

National Rail is used by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) as a generic term to define the passenger rail services operated in Great Britain - before the adoption of National Rail, "Great Britain Passenger Railway" was used. ATOC is an unincorporated association whose membership consists of the passenger Train Operating Companies (TOCs) of Great Britain that run the passenger services previously provided by the British Railways Board, from 1965 using the brand name British Rail). National Rail generally does not include services that do not have a BR history; this distinction is important because National Rail services share a ticketing structure and inter-availability that do not necessarily extend to other services.

The National Rail (NR) logo was introduced by ATOC in 1999, and was used on the Great Britain public timetable for the first time in the edition valid from 26 September in that year. Rules for its use are set out in the Corporate Identity Style Guidelines published by ATOC, available on its website. The current edition is dated 2006, and there was at least one previous version, dated 2000. The NR title is sometimes described as a "brand" but according to ATOC this is incorrect. The 2000 guidelines said: 'It has not been designed as a brand or identity, but to explain to rail travellers that there is a National Railway network and material carrying this descriptor covers all passenger Train Companies.' In most parts of the ex-BR network there is no competition as only one TOC runs trains on a route; branding in commercial terms may thus be seen as largely irrelevant. Consistent use of the NR logo on signs and maps, however, points travellers to railway stations. As it was used by British Rail, the single operator before franchising, its use also maintains continuity and public familiarity; and it avoids the need to replace signage.

Read more about National Rail:  National Rail and Network Rail, Train Operating Companies (TOCs), Design and Marketing, Other Passenger Rail Operators in Great Britain, Ticketing, Timetables and Websites

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