The regulatory requirements for managing safety on the railways, tramways and other guided transport systems.

This page details who needs to comply and what they must do to meet minimum standards in Great Britain.

The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (ROGS) provide the regulatory regime for rail safety, including the mainline railway, metros (including London Underground), tramways, light rail and heritage railways.

The Regulations were introduced to implement the European Railway Safety Directive (2004/49/EC) into Great Britain. The aim of that Directive was to establish a common approach to rail safety and support the development of a single market for rail transport services in Europe.

We have published an approved list of transport systems that are excluded from the mainline railway.

The regulations require most railway operators (known as transport operators) to maintain a safety management system (SMS) and hold a safety certificate or safety authorisation indicating the SMS has been accepted by the Office of Rail and Road.

For more information about the performance and impact of ROGS, including the results of an independent review of the regulations, please read our impact of ROGS page.

ROGS and other rail safety legislation, including Railway Interoperability Regulations (RIR), require operators to comply with relevant safety standards.

These include compulsory standards which must be met before operators can apply for authorisation or certification to use vehicles or infrastructure on the railway, as well as standards which are required through contracts, the safety management system and licence conditions. 

RSSB has produced Guidance on the Application of Railway Standards setting out the standards that train operators are required to meet in order to operate on the railway. 

Guide to ROGS

We have made some updates to our guide to ROGS to reflect the legislative changes following the UK’s exit from the European Union. The document also provides the current approach to safety certification and safety authorisation assessments and some minor amendments to terminology used. 

Changes to ROGS

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The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations were previously amended in 2011 and 2013. 

The 2011 amendments established new mechanisms for maintaining rail vehicles, including a requirement for all vehicles to be registered on a national vehicle register (implementing Directive 2008/110/EC) and made minor changes to the Common Safety Indicators used by national safety authorities in collecting data on safety incidents, and the methods used to calculate costs during accidents (implementing Commission Directive 2009/149/EC). 

The 2013 amendments gave effect to Commission Regulation (EU) 445/2011 covering entities in charge of the maintenance (ECMs) of freight vehicles to be certified and in relation to the process for accrediting and recognising certification bodies.

The key changes made by the 2019 and 2020 Exit Regulations are to remove redundant terminology or provisions that are no longer relevant as a result of the UK withdrawing from the EU. 

Some provisions have been removed whilst others are reworded or replaced with new terminology to ensure they continue to make sense in the context of the UK being outside of the EU. However, the majority of the requirements contained within ROGS remain in place. 

The 2019 Exit Regulations revoked several pieces of EU tertiary legislation that became redundant in the UK after 31 December 2020. 

The following statutory instruments outline the changes made to The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (ROGS): 

  • The Rail Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/837) 
  • The Railways (Safety, Access, Management and Interoperability) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/1310) 
  • The Railways (Miscellaneous Amendments, Revocations and Transitional Provisions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/786) 
  • The Railways (Interoperability) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
  • The Railways (Interoperability) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/318)

The scope of the safety regime under ROGS in Great Britain remains unchanged. Those transport systems that are currently excluded, from mainline requirements will continue to be excluded. 

In summary, there are minimal changes as to the requirements that organisations must meet as part of their operations on the railway. 

The Common Safety Methods for Monitoring and Risk Evaluation & Assessment remain although they need to be read in conjunction with the Exit Regulations to correct any inoperabilities within the CSM text that arise due to the UK Exit from the EU.  

ORR has produced an updated unofficial consolidated version of ROGS as guidance. You should still refer to the actual legislation for the authoritative version of the law.

Who must comply with ROGS?

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The ROGS regulations have changed the way our inspectors work. The regulations require most railway operators to maintain a safety management system (SMS) and hold a safety certificate or authorisation indicating the SMS has been accepted by us. One of our primary roles is to check that the railway operators have, and implemented, an effective health and safety management system that protects workers, passengers and others from harm, so far as is reasonably practicable.

The following entities must comply with ROGS:

  • Transport undertakings - Any person or organisation that operates a vehicle in relation to any infrastructure. People or organisations that only carry out work in 'engineering possessions' (meaning sections of track closed to normal traffic for maintenance work) are not included. Only some of the duties in ROGS apply to them.
  • Infrastructure managers - Any person or organisation responsible for developing and maintaining infrastructure or for managing and operating a station. Also a person or organisation that manages or uses that infrastructure or station or allows it to be used for the operation of a vehicle.
  • Transport operator - any transport undertaking or infrastructure manager.
  • An 'entity in charge of maintenance' (ECM) - any person or organisation that is responsible for the safe maintenance of a vehicle and is registered as an ECM in the national vehicle register. This can include people or organisations such as transport undertakings, infrastructure managers, a keeper (usually the owner of a rail vehicle) or a maintenance organisation.

What must I do to meet the requirements of ROGS?

The most important parts of ROGS are as follows:

Safety certificates and authorisations

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No one can operate vehicles or manage infrastructure on GB railways unless they have obtained the appropriate safety certificate or authorisation from us. Applicants need to show how their safety management system allows them to run their transport system safely.

Safety Management Systems

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A Safety Management System (SMS) is a formal arrangement for managing a safe working environment. It defines roles and responsibilities, sets arrangements for safety mechanisms, involves workers in the process and ensures continuous improvement. All operators and dutyholders are required to have in place arrangements for managing safety risks and monitoring the performance of their safety system.

We will focus on checking that safety management systems are effective and fit for purpose. Lower-risk sectors (tramways and transport systems that do not run at speeds above 40 kilometres per hour) do not need safety certificates, but must still have a written safety management system in place.

We have published specific guidance for the heritage and minor railway sector to help them have in place a proportionate safety management system and meet their requirements under ROGS.

Risk assessments

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ROGS place a specific duty on transport operators to carry out risk assessments and put in place measures necessary to make sure the transport system is run safely. Mainline transport operators must also comply with the common safety method for risk evaluation and assessment.

Safety verification

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Non-mainline operators are responsible for ensuring that they have procedures in place to introduce new or altered vehicles or infrastructure safely. Where a new or significantly increased risk is involved, they must appoint an independent competent person (either from the organisation, or externally) to help them go through the right processes. This duty no longer applies to mainline operators as they now have to meet the requirements of the Commission Regulation setting out a common safety method for risk evaluation and assessment.

Mainline transport operators' annual safety reports

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Any mainline transport operator who holds a safety certificate or safety authorisation must send us an annual report on their safety performance.


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ROGS also gives operators (and other people such as contractors) a duty to work together to make sure the transport system is run safely.

Managing safety critical work

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Operators and their contractors have clear duties under ROGS to make sure that employees who carry out safety critical tasks are suitably competent and fit to do so. This includes making sure these employees are not affected by fatigue.

Entities in charge of maintenance

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ROGS Regulation 18A(1) states that no person may place in service or use a vehicle on the mainline railway unless that vehicle has an entity in charge of maintenance (ECM) assigned to it, and that the ECM is registered in the National Vehicle Register (NVR).  

If an ECM is responsible for freight wagons, it must also obtain an ECM certificate.Regulation 18A(2) states each entity in charge of maintenance must ensure, by means of a system of maintenance, that a vehicle for which it is in charge of maintenance is in a safe state of running.

An ECM for vehicles other than freight wagons may obtain voluntary certification under Schedules 9 and 10 of ROGS or ECM Regulation (EU) 2019/779. 

ECM’s of vehicles that operate cross border services via the Channel Tunnel have to comply with the requirements of the ECM Regulation 2019/779 in addition to Regulation 18A of ROGS. 

Exclusions from the mainline railway requirements

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ROGS give us discretion to exclude from the mainline railway requirements certain transport systems.