The company that owns most of train operator Greater Anglia has been sold to its management - ending its link with the Dutch state rail network.

Abellio UK has been bought by its British management from Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

The new company will be called Transport UK Group Limited.

As well as Greater Anglia it also owns the East Midlands Railway company which runs services from Norwich to the Midlands and north west of England.

Greater Anglia is 40% owned by Japanese conglomerate Mitsui which will retain its 40% stake in the business.

Led by managing director Dominic Booth, who has decades of experience running public transport services in the UK, the buyout deal is subject to formal approval from partners including the Department for Transport and regulatory consent from the Office for Rail and Road.

East Anglian Daily Times: Dominic Booth led the management buyout of Abellio UK.Dominic Booth led the management buyout of Abellio UK. (Image: Archant)

The Dutch rail company has decided to withdraw from the UK market to focus on services in the Netherlands.

Mr Booth said: “I’ve been a railwayman all my life. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return key public transport services back into UK ownership at a time when some of our competitors look destined for overseas ownership.

"We expect the business to transfer by the end of the year, following which we will focus all our energies and expertise on continuing to deliver the best possible services for our passengers, investing in our train and bus routes, and helping to develop a future ready, low emission UK transport network.

“Our wish to buy the company from Nederlandse Spoorwegen demonstrates our confidence in the existing Abellio UK team, both in our Head Office and on the ground. It’s the dedication of our 15,000 employees, together with a continuity of management, that will ensure our new company is a great success.

“We are grateful for the support and backing that we have received from Nederlandse Spoorwegen to date, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them to manage this process to a successful conclusion.”

Bert Groenewegen, acting CEO of Nederlandse Spoorwegen, which will continue to support the new company during a transition period, said today:

“After a successful 20 years in the UK passenger transport market, NS is proud to support this natural next step for Abellio UK as it transitions with our blessing into a new management owned passenger transport group.”

The sale comes as the future of the UK rail network remains uncertain.

Great British Railways is being formed by the government to take strategic decisions on when and where to run services - and already sets fares for most train journeys.

Individual companies like Greater Anglia will eventually just run trains for a fee from GBR - and the franchise system was effectively killed off by Covid and the collapse of passenger numbers in 2020/21.

Numbers are returning but details of the new structure have still not been published - and how services will operate is still waiting to be confirmed.