Entities in charge of maintenance


People or organisations responsible for the maintenance of rail vehicles on the mainline railway are known as Entities in Charge of Maintenance (ECMs). This page gives an overview of the requirements for ECMs. It has been updated to reflect the legislative requirements following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Please note: ORR is no longer an ECM certification body. Details of certification bodies can be found on RSSB's website.

What is an ECM and who can be an ECM?

An ECM is any person or organisation responsible for the safe maintenance of a rail vehicle. ECMs are officially listed in the national vehicle register (NVR). 

ECMs include people or organisations such as railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, a keeper or a maintenance organisation.

Depending on the type of rail vehicle the ECM may also be required to obtain a certificate from a competent certification body.

The requirements for ECMs are contained in the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations (ROGS). You can read more about the regulations in our guide to ROGS.

What are the requirements?

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Regulation 18A of ROGS requires that persons may place in service or use a rail vehicle on the mainline railway only if that vehicle has an ECM assigned to it. That ECM also needs to be registered as such in the NVR. 

For example, a train company leasing passenger trains must make sure that there is an ECM registered against the vehicles in the NVR before it begins to haul them.

Each ECM must ensure that its vehicles are regularly maintained to be safe to run on the mainline railway. The regular maintenance of vehicles must be in in accordance with:

  • the maintenance file for that vehicle
  • applicable maintenance rules
  • applicable National Technical Specification Notices (NTSNs)

If the vehicle is a freight wagon, the ECM must obtain an ECM certificate from a competent certification body. 

Part 3 of Schedule 10 of ROGS contains requirements which the certification body must meet if it is involved in the assessment and award of UK-issued ECM certificates. 

The ECM must be able to demonstrate compliance with Schedules 9 and 10 of ROGS as well as Regulation 18A of ROGS. 

All ECMs must comply with the common safety methods (CSMs) for monitoring and risk evaluation and assessment which have been retained in UK law. 

What vehicles does regulation 18A apply to?

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Regulation 18A of ROGS applies to all passenger rolling stock, locomotives, freight wagons and all other rail vehicles placed in service or used on the mainline railway.

Further guidance on regulation 18A of ROGS can be found in our internal guidance document.

Do I need an ECM certificate?

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If you are an ECM for freight wagons you will need to get an ECM certificate from a certification body following the certification system for freight wagons. Find more information under 'What is the system of certification for freight wagons?' below.

If you are an ECM for vehicles other than freight wagons, you must comply with Regulation 18A. 

You do not need an ECM certificate to operate vehicles on Britain's mainline railway. However, you may get voluntary certification under Schedules 9 and 10 of ROGS or Commission 2019/779 (the ECM Regulation), if you wish. 

Railway undertakings and infrastructure managers who want to voluntarily seek certification can demonstrate their compliance with the assessment criteria. These criteria are set out in Annex II of the ECM Regulation 2019/779 through their safety certification or safety authorisation respectively. 

What is the system of certification for freight wagons?

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An ECM for freight wagons is currently required to hold one of the following:

  1. An ECM certificate issued in accordance with Regulation (EU) 445/2011 that is valid on the terms of its original issue;
  2. A UK-issued ECM certificate in accordance with Schedules 9 and 10 of ROGS; or
  3. A 'cross-border UK-issued ECM certificate' in accordance with the retained 2019 EU ECM Regulation. 

Changes to recognition of EU certificates issued to entities in charge of maintenance (ECMs) from 30 June 2023

ECMs should be aware of changes to the recognition of EU certificates issued by EU certification bodies to ECMs responsible for freight wagons from 30 June 2023. 

The Government has now ended recognition of EU certificates issued to ECMs responsible for the ongoing maintenance of domestic freight wagons. 

This means that ECMs responsible for freight wagons in domestic service need to hold ECM certification issued by a UK certification body. 

The UK will continue to recognise EU certificates held by ECMs assigned to international rail vehicles in accordance with its international obligations as a signatory of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF). 

This planned change will not apply in Northern Ireland where separate legislation applies.

If I am an ECM for freight wagons, how do I apply for a certificate?

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You can apply to a certification body that is based in the UK for a UK-issued ECM certificate or 'cross border UK-issued ECM certificate'. 

Non-domiciled ECMs need to meet the requirements of regulation 18A of ROGS. If a vehicle is a freight wagon, the ECM must also hold a valid ECM certificate issued from a competent certification body. Non-Domiciled ECMs should check the status of their Certification Body with either ORR or UKAS

Where can I find ECM certificates?

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Currently, the list of UK-accredited ECM certification bodies is available on the RSSB website

UK-issued ECM certificates are available at the website of the issuing certification body and RSSB provide a list of certificates issued in the UK on their website.