Network Rail


Network Rail is the owner, operator and infrastructure manager of Britain's main railway network.

It runs, maintains and develops the core physical infrastructure of the network and has to ensure efficient management of the assets over the short, medium and long-term. While managing the existing fabric of the network, and ensuring its safe use, its role is also to support and implement new initiatives and upgrades, overseeing investment committed to the development of the railways.

We ensure that Network Rail operates and plans the future use and development of the network and maintains and enhances its assets in such a way that meets the reasonable requirements of its customers and funders.

Network Rail provides the train operating companies with access to the network.


In 2014, Network Rail was reclassified as an arm’s length central government body, retaining responsibility for the ownership and stewardship of its network. It is accountable to its customers and funded through a mixture of access revenue, paid to it by the train operating companies, and received money from the government grants.

Network Rail operates under a licence issued by the Secretary of State for Transport which we oversee and enforce. One of our regulatory requirements is ensuring Network Rail operates and plans the future use and development of the network. It must also maintain and enhance the railway to meet the requirements of its customers and funders.

What are its responsibilities?

  • operating the network;
  • managing performance;
  • directing service recovery;
  • setting timetables;
  • allocating capacity;
  • leading industry planning; and
  • maintaining, renewing and developing the network.

Does it have any health and safety responsibilities?

The nature of Network Rail's activities require it to have systems in place to ensure the health and safety of its employees and all others affected by its activities. Its Health and Safety Management System establishes the framework and arrangements in place to deliver its objectives, providing for a thorough understanding of all health and safety risks, planning and implementing effective control measures and measuring results as part of a continued improvement process.

Regulation of Network Rail

See Network Rail regulation.

How do I make a complaint about Network Rail?

You should contact Network Rail's national customer helpline (08457 114 141). Alternatively you can contact them through the Network Rail website.