This guidance sets out our approach to regulating track access.
We make sure that passenger and freight train operating companies have fair access to the rail network – and that best use is made of capacity.
If a train operator wants to access the national railway network, it will need a track access contract with Network Rail. This page sets out what you need to know. If you have any questions, please contact us.
- Introduction, updated July 2021
- The statutory and contractual framework, updated July 2021
- The use of capacity, updated July 2021
- Duration of track access (framework agreements), updated July 2021
- The expression of access rights, updated July 2021
- International passenger services, June 2009
- The not primarily abstractive test, December 2011
- The Economic Equilibrium Test, March 2019
- Investing in the railway: securing access, January 2018
How to apply
Model track access contracts
- Model passenger contracts, updated July 2021
- Model freight operator contracts, March 2019
- Model freight customer contracts, March 2019
Charging and performance
- Charging, April 2019
- Performance, April 2019
- Possessions, April 2019
- Liability framework, April 2019
- ORR's Code of Practice for the application of Sections 16A to I of the Railways Act 1993, November 2006
- Connection contracts, November 2021
- Facility access agreements (non-Network Rail networks) May 2019
- High Speed 1 – see 'access to HS1'
- Network Code appeals, updated July 2021
- The Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations 2016, updated July 2021
ORR's Enforcement powers under The Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations 2016
ORR current work and policy documents
- West Coast Main Line (WCML) and East Coast Main Line (ECML) major timetable recasts in 2022/23
- ORR statement on timetabling and Network Code change requirements
Published 22 February 2022
- ORR statement on future service levels and unused access rights
Published 1 November 2021
- Competing applications for access to the West Coast Main Line
Published 21 October 2020
- Access to the West Coast Main Line update letter
Published 22 November 2019
- Access to the West Coast Main Line
Published 11 October 2019
- Problems with sale of access rights process - Letter to the railway industry
Published 5 June 2019
- Current applications
- West Coast Main Line
- East Coast Main Line
- Network Rail loading licences
This section contains links to recent track access and connection contract decisions. This includes new contracts and amendments to current contracts. See track access decisions.
For previous policy decisions and workstreams related to the criteria and procedures, please see the policy and document archive on the National Archives website.