Starting in 1994, as part of the Railways Act 1993, British Rail was divided up and privatised. By November 1997, British Rail had been divested of all its operating railway functions. The remaining functions of the British Railways Board were transferred to BRB (Residuary) Ltd. Under the Transport Act 2000 it was transferred to the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), and then directly to the Department for Transport in 2005 following this dissolution of the SRA as per the Railways Act 2005.
As a residuary body, the company is responsible for discharging a variety of functions, including obligations in respect of liabilities acquired by British Rail as a major employer over nearly half a century and as a direct result of the privatisation process.