Licence exemptions


Licence exemptions exempt named operators from the requirement to hold a licence.

A licence exemption is normally appropriate where we consider, in light of our duties, that an operator does not need to participate in standard industry arrangements.

Where a proposed operation falls within the scope of the Railway (Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations 2005, you will need to apply for a licence and/or SNRP. We cannot grant exemptions under these regulations.

We may grant exemptions from the obligation to hold a licence under the Railways Act 1993. The Railways Act 1993 enables the Secretary of State to grant exemptions to a particular class or description of persons as well as to individual applicants.

We are only able to grant exemptions to individual applicants, although these may be in respect of particular specified assets or classes of assets.

All exemptions

All copies of licence exemptions, granted by us are available in our public register.

Abbreviations for terms used describing licence exemptions listed in this section:

  • LMD: a light maintenance depot where services such as refuelling and cleaning trains takes place, and other frequent light maintenance work.
  • Heritage: an operation primarily used for tourist, educational or recreational purposes of non-mainline passenger services and assets, usually on a preserved railway line.
  • Network: a railway line or combination of lines and installations. Licence exempt networks are usually functionally separate from the national network. Usually they will also be operated within a fenced or controlled access territory. This includes freight sidings or goods terminals.
  • Contractor: a rail maintenance company which undertakes track maintenance and repair, usually on behalf of Network Rail. Maintenance activities take place within engineering possessions using specialist or Rail Mounted Maintenance Vehicles (RMMVs).
  • Non-passenger trains: freight or maintenance trains. In the context of exemptions, this would include short distance, non-mainline shunting operations in specific areas.