- Licence obligations
Operators of railway assets must normally comply with a range of conditions relevant to the licensed activity.
The conditions relevant to each operator are set out in their licences and the Statement of National Regulatory Provisions (SNRPs).
For the most up-to-date model licences and SNRPs, please see Model licences and SNRPs. The text of issued licences and SNRPs can be found in the public register.
All licensed operators and certain licence exempt operators are required to hold and maintain third party liability insurance on terms approved by us. The operation of railway assets will not normally be authorised before we have approved the relevant insurance arrangements. Chapter 6 of our criteria and procedures for granting licences and licence exemptions ( PDF 265 Kb) sets out our requirements. With effect from 1 March 2007, ORR replaced the individual approval of operator third party liability insurance arrangements with a new general approval. Brokers must confirm that operators have adequate insurance cover in place using the supplied confirmation letter template ( Word 79 Kb), in line with the general approval.
All operators must be a party to approved arrangements governing the allocation amongst operators of liabilities and the handling of claims. The only approved arrangements are those contained in the industry Claims Allocation and Handling Agreement (CAHA), and applicants must sign up to the agreement before the licence or SNRP can come into effect.
Most passenger train operators are required to be party to, and comply with, arrangements approved by the Department for Transport (DfT) in respect of the sale and validity of through tickets and the operation of a national telephone enquiries service. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) manages schemes already approved by the DfT that deal with these and other matters, for example, the Ticketing & Settlement Agreement and National Rail Enquiry Scheme - membership of which would normally meet the DfT’s requirements.
Passenger train and station operators are normally required to produce a Disabled Persons Protection Policy (DPPP) that is approved by the DfT. The DfT’s requirements are set down in Train and Station Services for Disabled Passengers: A Code of Practice, which includes a number of specifications and outlines best practice.
Passenger train operators are:
- Required to provide appropriate, accurate and timely information to enable railway passengers and prospective passengers to plan and make their journeys with a reasonable degree of assurance, including when there is disruption.
- Cooperate with Network Rail and other train operators to enable Network Rail to carry out appropriate planning of train services and to establish or change appropriate timetables to enable it to satisfy its timetabling obligations.
- Shall cooperate with train operators so far as is reasonably necessary to enable them to meet their obligations to provide information to passengers.
Passenger train and station operators must establish a complaints handling procedure approved by the DfT. The DfT has adopted the published Guidance on Complaint Handling Procedures to which applicants should refer for further advice.
Passenger train and station operators must engage in reasonable liaison with the PC and LTUC, attending meetings and providing information as may be reasonably required by the PC and LTUC in the course of their duties.
Most train operators are required to become members of the RSSB, as well as comply with the obligations and exercise the rights of such membership, from the point when the licence comes into force. Licence holders are also required to complete the formal and legal documentation associated with such membership within three months of the date the licence or SNRP comes into force. ORR can provide the relevant contacts at the RSSB responsible for membership applications. A turnover threshold applies in relation to small operators, based on the definition of turnover as set out in the RSSB constitution agreement.
The RSSB's principal objective is to lead and facilitate the rail industry's work to achieve continuous improvement in the health and safety performance of the railways in Great Britain. Achievement of this objective requires the involvement of as wide a range of industry parties as possible and, in particular, all those parties which operate trains on Network Rail's network.
All operators are required to abide by the Railway Group Standards that apply to their operations.
All operators are required to produce an environmental policy within six months of their licence or SNRP coming into effect. Our environmental guidance ( PDF 39 Kb) must be taken into account when preparing this policy. One policy can cover all of an operator’s activities.
The change of control condition requires operators to notify us in writing as soon as practicable after any person obtains control of the operator, for example if the operator is taken over by another company.
This condition says the licence holder shall not unduly discriminate between particular persons or between any classes or descriptions of person.
Station, network and light maintenance depot operators are required to grant access, so far as they are legally able, to any person where necessary or expedient to alleviate the effect of an emergency.
Station operators must co-operate with Transport for London in the interests of ensuring efficiency and furthering investment in services.
This provision allows station and light maintenance depot operators to vary the Schedule listing the assets they are authorised to operate. If we object, normally we would serve notice on the operator within 30 days from receiving the notice, and remove the asset from the schedule.
Some franchises are awarded on the basis that a station stewardship asset condition is included in the franchised operator’s station licence. ORR is responsible for monitoring and enforcing this condition. Conditions may vary between different operators to reflect the franchise commitments. It does not apply to every station licence.
Last updated: March 2013
- Intercity West Coast regulatory statement and ORR/DfT working arrangements document 2012 ( PDF 803 Kb).
- Third party liability insurance review letter - January 2012 ( PDF 258 Kb).
- Improvements to the assisted passenger reservation system - ORR letter to ATOC 23 February 2011 ( PDF 56 Kb).
- Criteria and procedures for granting licences and licence exemptions ( PDF 266 Kb).
- Third party insurance liability conclusions - Oct 2007 ( PDF 185 Kb).
- Insurance review: Conclusions & implementation ( PDF 352 Kb).
- Third party liability insurance - letter 7 Aug 2007 ( PDF 91 Kb).
- Insurance review: General approval ( PDF 77 Kb).
- Broker's confirmation letter template ( DOC 85 Kb).
- Insurance review - consultation ( PDF 124 Kb).
- Railways Act 2005 (Licensing Modification) Scheme No. 1 ( PDF 1806 Kb).
- Guidance on Complaints Handling ( PDF 83 Kb).
- Environmental Policy Guidance 2007 ( PDF 39 Kb).
- Licence holder change of control: Application for approval (updated) ( DOC 121 Kb).
- Greater Anglia regulatory statement 2012 ( PDF 212 Kb).