- Permissions and applications to operate trains
ORR permissions and applications to operate trains
This page is for potential new entrants to the rail industry, although existing operators may find it useful. In many cases you will need to apply to us for certain permissions and approvals before you can start rail operations. Here we provide a very brief overview and help you find the relevant sections on our website where you will find more detail. This list is not exhaustive and there may be other permissions that you need.
If you are a prospective new entrant to the rail industry, we have also produced guidance which summarises our regulatory requirements called Starting mainline rail operations: a guide to the regulatory framework ( PDF 832 Kb).
Health and safety related permissions and applications
ORR, as the health and safety regulator, delivers a range of functions under various regulations, private acts and orders to help ensure railways, tramways and other guided transport systems run safely.
Please see the following web pages for further information on each of the main areas where a legal approval may be needed from ORR.
Transport and Works Act Orders
If you need to consult ORR on a draft Transport and Works Act Order please contact us via our Customer Correspondence Team in the first instance.
Licensing is one of our core statutory functions. If you want to operate a train, station, network or light maintenance depot you will need to be covered by a licence or licence exemption. Through licensing we promote effective and efficient working relationships between industry parties and we can hold individual operators to account in the public interest.
If you want to run trains on the national network that is owned by Network Rail as the facility owner, you will need to agree access contracts with Network Rail which have been approved by ORR.
You will also require access to stations. If you want to call at a station, you will need to agree access contracts with the Station Facility Owner which have been approved by us. The same applies to Light Maintenance Depots. To access a depot and receive light maintenance services, you will need to agree access contracts with the Depot Facility Owner which have been approved by ORR.
We also approve new framework agreements and amendments to existing framework agreements for the HS1 network, where these agreements reserve capacity for a period longer than six months. More information can be found on our HS1 regulation web pages.
Last updated: February 2013