Promoting rail competition


We work to ensure that rail markets are competitive and fair – for passengers, freight customers, railway operators and taxpayers.

We do this by integrating our economic, competition and consumer functions and powers. Economic powers are an effective tool in addressing barriers to market entry and, in particular, tackling any incumbent advantages arising from ownership of key facilities and infrastructure. Competition powers can be used effectively to protect new entry and ensure conditions for its growth, and to send out powerful signals as to what is and is not an appropriate response by incumbents to new entry occurring.

Our competition activities span a range of work, including:

  • Investigating companies who are in breach of competition law
  • Undertaking market reviews and market studies and monitoring the competitive landscape
  • Working and engaging with competition authorities in relation to the rail services sector

We also consider our competition duties when assessing applications for access to the network.

Competition Act 1998

The Competition Act 1998 prohibits any agreement, business practice or conduct which has, or could have, a damaging effect on competition in the UK.

Report a suspected competition issue

Reports from consumers and businesses about anti-competitive behaviour or problems in markets are vital in helping the ORR to ensure that the rail market is competitive and fair.

Market monitoring

ORR can undertake market reviews and formal market studies under the Enterprise Act 2002. These are used to examine why particular markets may not be working well.

Other competition work

We do a range of other work to ensure that markets are working well, to the benefit of users or funders. This includes developing competition policy and providing expert advice to other regulators.