Access for freight customers

This page contains guidance for track access by freight customers. General approvals, model contracts and related documents are also included.

We have developed simple and transparent model track access contracts for freight customers. The model contracts provide freight customers with control over the exercise of their own access rights associated with the movement of their goods.

For information on how to apply for a freight customer access contract please see our track access guidance.

Potential new entrants to the market should familiarise themselves with our Starting Mainline Rail Operations pdf icon PDF, 455 Kb document.

We advise all applicants to use our model contracts, provided below.

Applicants should note this guidance on how the 2018 periodic review (PR18) will apply to new access contracts.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Model contracts

Applicants are advised to begin with the freight customer model contract. Further guidance on this can be found in our C&Ps document above.

General approvals

  • General Approval for freight track access contracts 2016 pdf icon PDF, 669 Kb which:
    • enables Network Rail and a freight operator to enter into a track access contract for up to 5 years and permits contingent and some firm access rights;
    • permits Network Rail and the freight operator to amend their track access contract without our specific approval, subject to certain conditions. Any other amendments will require our specific approval under section 22 or directions under section 22A of the Act;
    • enables Network Rail and freight end-customers to enter into a track access contract for up to 5 years and permits contingent and some firm access rights;
    • allows Network Rail and a freight operator (nominated by a freight end-customer) to enter into an end-customer-specific freight track access contract; and
    • enables a freight operator and Network Rail to make certain changes to their existing track access contract relating to liability; necessary where the freight operator has a customer-specific track access contract.

For previous policy decisions and workstreams, please see the policy and document archive.

For previous access application decisions, please see our decisions library or, for decisions in the last six months, the relevant decisions page.