About FirstGroup and MTR

Improving South Western Railway

Operating over 1,500 services each weekday across the network, South Western Railway (SWR) employs more than 5,000 employees and provides commuter inter-urban, regional and long distance services to passengers in South West London and southern counties of England and Island Line services on the Isle of Wight. We also provide connectivity to the ports and airports in the region.

As well as commuters and business travellers, SWR transports leisure travellers across the region, to many tourist and heritage sites, and the numerous major sporting and social events that take place along the network each year. 

SWR provide easy and convenient mobility, improving quality of life by connecting people and communities.

SWR is a joint venture between First Group and MTR Corporation from Hong Kong. 

About FirstGroup

FirstGroup is a leading private sector provider of transport services. With £4.8 billion in revenue and around 30,000 employees, we transported more than 1.8m passengers a day in 2022/23. 

We provide easy and convenient mobility, improving quality of life by connecting people and communities. Whether for business, education, health, social or recreation – we get our customers where they want to be, when they want to be there, and create solutions that reduce complexity, making travel smoother and life easier.  

The essential services we provide are critical to delivering wider economic, social and environmental goals. 

Our divisions

First Group has 2 divisions: First Rail and First Bus. 

First Rail is the UK’s largest rail operator, with many years of experience running long-distance, commuter, regional and sleeper rail services. Our services carried 772,000 passenger journeys a day in 2022/23.

  • We operate three rail contracts for the Department for Transport (DfT) – Avanti West Coast, Great Western Railway and SWR – and two open access services, Hull Trains and Lumo
  • We operate the London Trams network on behalf of Transport for London, carrying around 21 million passengers a year
  • As well as Avanti services, the West Coast Partnership also includes the ‘shadow operator’ for future high speed rail services which will design, develop and mobilise operations for the new line working with HS2 Ltd and the DfT

Meanwhile, First Bus is the second largest regional bus operator in the UK, serving two-thirds of the country’s 15 largest conurbations with a fleet of more than 4,500 buses, and carrying more than a million passengers a day.

We're formally committed to operating a zero-emission First Bus fleet by 2035, and First Rail will help support the UK Government’s goal to remove all diesel-only trains from service by 2040. 

In February 2023 FirstGroup was named as one of the world’s cleanest 200 public companies for the fourth consecutive year by sustainable business media group Corporate Knights in partnership with US not-for-profit organisation, As You Sow.

Learn more about first group and our divisions and follow us on Twitter: @firstgroupplc

About MTR

MTR Corporation is recognised as one of the world’s leading railway operators for safety, reliability, customer service and cost efficiency. Originating from Hong Kong with busy metro services, we’ve operated in the UK for a number of years, running the London Overground network from 2007 until 2016.

During our tenure London Overground had one of the highest right-time punctuality rates in the UK, and large expansion works were completed. In 2015 the business was re-accredited by Investors in People (IiP) and was also awarded 5-star EFQM accreditation for excellence.

To Keep Cities Moving, MTR makes encounters happen and rendezvous for a more connected tomorrow.  As a recognised world-class operator of sustainable rail transport services, MTR is a leader in safety, reliability, customer service and efficiency.

MTR has extensive end-to-end railway expertise with more than 40 years of railway projects experience from design to planning and construction through to commissioning, maintenance and operations. Going beyond railway delivery and operation, MTR also creates and manages dynamic communities around its network through seamless integration of rail, commercial and property development.

With more than 40,000 dedicated staff, MTR carries over 13 million passenger journeys worldwide every weekday in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Macao and the Mainland of China. Together, we Go Smart and Go Beyond.

Learn more about MTR Corporation.