The Rail Regulator was originally established by statute when Britain's railways were privatised in 1993. The Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 replaced the Rail Regulator with the Office of Rail Regulation.
As the health and safety regulator of the railway industry, our principal function is to secure the safe operation of the railway system, and to protect both those working on the system and members of the public from health and safety risks arising from the railways.
Our principal economic regulatory functions are set out in the Railways Act 1993 (the RA 1993).
In short, they are:
- regulate Network Rail's stewardship of the national rail network
- licence operators of railway assets
- approve track, station, light maintenance depot access
ORR is also a designated enforcer under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002.
In summary, we are the enforcing authority for the HSWA 1974, for the Railways and Other Guided Transport System Regulations 2006 and for various other pieces of railway specific legislation.
Last updated: February 2013
- Network licence granted to Network Rail ( PDF 605 Kb).