Access exemptions


Under certain conditions, a facility owner of a railway asset, such as a station, can apply to be exempt from certain access provisions.

Types of exemptions

Exemptions generally fall into three categories:

  • stations
  • depots
  • network exemptions

Network exemptions apply to a specific defined network. Station and light maintenance depot exemptions generally relate to a named station or light maintenance depot.

In relation to a facility owner's network, we will usually expect access to be available to all train operators providing passenger or freight, or other, services.

How to apply

Sections 17 and 22A provide for a party denied access to a facility owner's network to make an application to us to direct the facility owner to grant access.

However, we understand that there may be occasions when a facility owner may wish to apply for a facility access exemption. In such cases, we will expect the application to be supported by a written explanation specifying:

  • the reason why the application for a facility access exemption should be granted;
  • why the protections afforded to the facility owner by section 4 of the Act, are not sufficient; and
  • applicants should also include information to show the extent to which the relevant facility is connected to Network Rail's network and how much, if any, traffic is expected to pass between the two.

Deciding on exemptions

There are no statutory timescales within which we must make a decision on an access exemption. In practice, such decisions often take several months to reach. A person intending to seek a facility access exemption from us is therefore advised to contact us as soon as possible.

A facility exemption does not provide an exemption from the licensing regime. Applicants seeking licence exemptions should also view the licensing section of this website.

All exemptions granted under section 20 are entered in our public register. In addition, our reasons to grant, decline or revoke a facility exemption and the relevant documents will be made available.

For previous access application decisions, please see our decisions library or, for decisions in the last six months, the relevant decisions page.

If you have any questions, please contact us.