- Route utilisation strategies
Route utilisation strategies (RUS)
A RUS takes a strategic look at the rail network and its usage and capability in relation to current and future demand. Where shortfalls in capacity are identified, the RUS will identify options for addressing them. These options may involve timetabling changes or investment.
To address the requirements of funders and stakeholders, a RUS seeks to balance capacity, passenger and freight demand, operational performance, infrastructure maintenance and costs.
On this page
For current work and completed RUSs, please go to RUS - recent developments.
Condition 1 of Network Rail’s network licence sets out some specific obligations for Network Rail to establish and maintain RUS’s for the whole and part of the network and promote the route utilisation objective in accordance with our RUS guidelines. The condition also requires Network Rail to propose a programme of RUS establishment dates for our approval.
Route utilisation objective means:
"the effective and efficient use and development of the capacity available, consistent with funding that is, or is reasonably likely to become, available during the period of the route utilisation strategy and with the licence holder’s performance of the general duty".
Our guidelines outline a process that Network Rail must follow in establishing a RUS and our right to issue a notice of objection. This is an important safeguard in the event that a RUS does not adequately promote the route utilisation objective or does not fulfill the specified procedural requirements.
Network Rail has developed a consultation process. Each individual RUS is overseen by a number of meetings of industry representatives for the route under consideration.
- enable Network Rail and persons providing services in relation to railways to better plan their businesses and funders to better plan their activities; and
- set out feasible options for network capacity, timetable outputs and network capability, and funding implications of those options for persons providing services to railways and funders.
Each individual RUS is overseen by a number of meetings of industry representatives for the route under consideration. We are an observer at these meetings. Wider stakeholders are invited to make proposals for inclusion in the RUS and to attend periodic wider consultation meetings as each RUS is developed.
Network Rail prepares each RUS steered by the relevant Stakeholder Management Group at each of the development stages:
- Options; and
It then publishes a draft RUS and allows two to three months for consultation.
At the end of the consultation period, Network Rail takes account of any material responses and then produces the final RUS, which it publishes and sends to us. We then have 60 days in which to issue a notice of objection to all or part of the RUS. In the absence of such notice, the RUS becomes established. If any stakeholder felt that a final RUS did not address its representations or there were other issues it wished to raise, we expect it to make that fact known to us within 30 days of publication. Please contact us.
Network Rail has developed RUSs for various routes across the rail network. Details of Network Rail's work can be found on its website at Network Rail’s RUS page.
For the latest on RUSs please see our RUS - recent developments page.
Last updated 4 November 2010
- Revised ORR guidelines on Route Utilisation Strategies - 1 April 2009 ( PDF 54 Kb).
- Revised ORR guidelines on Route Utilisation Strategies covering letter - 1 April 2009 ( PDF 227 Kb).
- RUS programme 2006 map ( PPT 210 Kb).
- ORR guidelines on Route Utilisation Strategies (RUS) ( PDF 98 Kb).
- Network licence granted to Network Rail - modified 29 January 2013 ( PDF 605 Kb).
- Notice: Industry performance and planning and RUS ( PDF 254 Kb).
- Implementing the future of rail: proposed modifications to Network Rail’s network licence ( PDF 240 Kb).
- ORR letter to Network Rail - RUS review - February 2007 ( PDF 178 Kb).
- Letter to Network Rail on approval of revised RUS programme ( PDF 22 Kb).
- Letter from Network Rail on revised RUS programme ( PDF 429 Kb).