Our Story

Great things start from humble beginnings…


December 2021

Virtual Christmas Party 2021

Our second - and, we hope, last! - virtual Christmas party. Fun, games, prizes and competitions for everyone in the team.

November 2021

Launch of partnership with Omio

We start powering Omio’s GB rail journey planning and ticket purchases. Find out more about our partnership with Omio.

July 2021

Virtual 21st birthday party



December 2020

Virtual Christmas Party 2020

We celebrate Xmas in style, with an all-team afternoon of quizzes, games, Christmas dinners and yet more prizes.

October 2020

Railsmartr launches

Our new B2C website and journey planning engine launches… right in the middle of a pandemic (you can’t time everything). Using our new state-of-the-art journey planning and fares engine - Odyssey - Railsmartr finds the cheapest fares that other websites don’t. This is just the beginning, with many features planned to come on our extensive roadmap.

July 2020

Assertis is 20!

Amazing! Assertis celebrates its twentieth birthday. We’d planned a big summer garden party, but pandemic travel restrictions prevent that, so we get our first taste of a virtual party…

March / April 2020

Pandemic refunds and the start of home working

We leave the London office for the last time on 13th March (though we don’t know it at the time), and the London team adapts to working from home. By the end of April we have refunded millions £s of tickets to customers.

February 2020

Arriva Business Travel awarded

Assertis is awarded the contract to provide all online rail ticketing for Arriva’s Business Travel Service, building on our near decade-long success in providing the online rail ticket retailing for Chiltern Railways’ Business Travel Service


December 2019

Virgin Trains / Stagecoach partnership launches

With Virgin Trains ceasing to be a train operating company in December 2019, we enter a partnership with virgintrains.co.uk to sell train tickets online. It gets off to a great start but, unfortunately, the pandemic puts paid to it only a few months later

October 2019

Heathrow Express launch

We take over online ticket sales for Heathrow Express, including via the iOS and Android apps.



Grand Central telesales goes live



Cal Sleeper goes 100% digital

Caledonian Sleeper becomes the first train operator to go 100% eTicket, and end the use of Ticket on Departure (ToD) and post. As well as tickets for seats and rooms, this includes Flexipass carnets, group tickets (for up to six people), supplements, bicycle reservations, and even pet tickets (actually a room cleaning charge)!


October 2017

Founder member of Independent Rail Retailers



December 2015 to August 2016

Assertis leads the digital ticketing revolution

Assertis leads an industry collaboration of a small group of TOCs, RDG and another retailer to create a much better barcode ticket standard, to replace the ‘m-ticket’ (which requires customers to download an app and activate their tickets before travel) trialled in the year before. The new standard - ‘eTicket’ - is based on Apple’s boarding pass used successfully for airlines. In an industry first, TOCs are persuaded that customers should be able to print / share their tickets as much as they want, with fraud protection being provided through scanning. We roll it out at Caledonian Sleeper in October 2016. eTickets are an instant hit with customers - with far higher satisfaction rates than any other ticket delivery method.


2014 to 2015

Digital ticketing interoperability trial

Working with Northern and other TOCs and TIS suppliers, we launch the first interoperable mobile ticketing trial on the National Rail network, in north-east England. Customers can buy mobile tickets from the Northern apps, and then activate these within the apps before they travel. Customer adoption is slow, though - we need something better.

January 2015

Caledonian Sleeper

We launch online retailing, website and apps for Caledonian Sleeper, three months before it is spun off as a separate franchise from ScotRail and taken over by Serco on 31 March. Customers can buy tickets and reserve beds or seats up to 12 months in advance - another industry first.


November 2014

Joint Venture with the Go-Ahead Group

We form On Track Retail Ltd - a 50:50 joint venture with The Go-Ahead Group - to create the online TIS for all of Govia's TOCs. The Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express brands (all part of Govia Thameslink Railway) go live in Q4 2015, and Southeastern and London Midland in Q1 2016. Between them the websites now sell over £100m of tickets annually. GTR is the biggest rollout of smartcards on rail in the UK.


August 2011

Northern Rail

We help Northern Rail - a Serco / Abellio joint venture - sell tickets online for the first time by launching their webTIS. A year later we add iOS and Android apps, and gradually introduce mobile ticketing for all Northern routes- the largest rollout of mobile ticketing on the UK rail network. With the award of a new franchise to Arriva from April 2016, we no longer provide this.


April 2010


We launch MyTrainTicket.co.uk - a new B2C website selling all UK train tickets. In an industry first, customers earn Air Miles when they buy tickets. With lots of positive publicity and a successful SEO and PR strategy, sales soon increase. (We sold MyTrainTicket in 2012.).


April 2009

Fundraising round

On the back of our success with Wrexham & Shropshire and Chiltern Railways, and our ambition to enter the B2C rail ticket retailing market, we raise funds from a small number of investors.


June 2008

Chiltern Railways mobile ticketing

We start providing mobile ticketing for Chiltern Railways - sister company to W&S - on key Chiltern Railways routes. By the end of 2008 we have sold more mobile rail tickets in the UK than anyone else.

April 2008

Wrexham & Shropshire ticketing launches

Our first foray into online train ticket retailing. The day before Wrexham & Shropshire - an open access operator that ceased running in 2011 - ran its first train service, we were retailing train tickets for them, with every one fulfilled to mobile or self print to reduce costs and improve the customer experience. Within a month more than a third of all W&S income was through our website.


April 2006

Wrexham & Shropshire website

Wrexham & Shropshire had made an application to the regulator to run train services, and wanted a website to support this and make the case to the public. Little did we know it at the time, but this was to be the start of our journey into selling train tickets!


July 2000

Assertis is founded

Assertis is founded by Alistair Lees and Mark Harris, initially to develop websites and act as a vehicle for consultancy.

Get in touch


Say hello

If you'd like to chat with us about what we do or how we can help you, just email us at hello@assertis.co.uk. We'll get straight back to you.


Technical help

If you have a technical question or would like to speak with one of our technical team, then just email technical@assertis.co.uk or visit our contact page