Entities in charge of maintenance


This page gives an overview of the requirements for a person or organisation responsible for the maintenance of rail vehicles (known as an entity in charge of maintenance).

People or organisations who are responsible for the maintenance of vehicles used on the mainline railway are known as entities in charge of maintenance (ECMs). Most vehicles on the mainline railway are required to have an ECM assigned to them in the National Vehicle Register (NVR) and depending on the type of vehicle the ECM may also be required to obtain an ECM certificate from a 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? Collapse accordion Open accordion

We have published guidance for ECMs from 1 January 2021 following the end of the EU exit transition period.

Regulation 18A of ROGS requires that no person may place in service or use a vehicle on the mainline railway unless that vehicle has an ECM assigned to it, and that entity in charge of maintenance is registered as such in the NVR. For example, a Train Operating Company leasing passenger trains has to make sure that there is an ECM registered against the vehicles in the NVR before it begins to haul them.

Each ECM has to ensure that, through a system of maintenance, a vehicle for which is it responsible is safe to run on the mainline railway. The system of maintenance is the maintenance of a vehicle in accordance with:

  • the maintenance file for that vehicle;
  • applicable maintenance rules; and
  • applicable Technical Specifications for Interoperability.

If the vehicle is a freight wagon the ECM must obtain an ECM certificate.

All ECMs must comply with the common safety method (CSM) for monitoring. ECMs for freight wagons must also comply with the CSM for risk evaluation and assessment.

What vehicles does regulation 18A apply to? Collapse accordion Open accordion

Regulation 18A of ROGS applies to all passenger rolling stock, locomotives, freight wagons and all other 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? Collapse accordion Open accordion

If you are an ECM for freight wagons you will need to obtain an ECM certificate from a certification body in accordance with the system of certification for freight wagons (see below).

If you are an ECM for vehicles other than freight wagons, you do not need an ECM certificate. However, the European Commission is considering extending the system so in the future you may be required to obtain an ECM Certificate or have the option of obtaining one on a voluntary basis. We will update our website as soon as we become aware of their decision.

What is the system of certification for freight wagons? Collapse accordion Open accordion

The European Commission has adopted Regulation EU/445/2011 (the ECM Regulation) on a system of certification for ECMs for freight wagons. This applies to any ECM for freight wagons to be used on the EU railway network. The ECM Regulation is directly applicable in all EU Member States. The purpose of the system of certification is to provide evidence that an ECM has established its maintenance system and can meet the requirements set out in the ECM Regulation.

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

An ECM responsible for freight wagons can apply to a certification body accredited, either by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) or by a National Accreditation Body in another Member State, to carry out this work. A list of certification bodies can be found on ERADIS.

ORR's role Collapse accordion Open accordion

On 31 May 2018 ORR ceased to be an ECM certification body. Therefore we no longer issue any ECM certificates and although previously issued certificates will remain valid, certificate holders will have needed to transfer to a new certification body for ongoing surveillance. Further details are set out in our decision document.

Where can I find ECM certificates issued by ORR? Collapse accordion Open accordion

The list of ECM certificates issued by us before 31 May 2018 contains dates of issue plus links to the certificates.  All ECM certificates issued across the European Union can be found on ERADIS.