Market study into the supply of signalling systems - May 2021 update


Signalling systems are an essential part of the railway. They keep passengers safe by ensuring trains do not come into conflict with each other and play a key role in freeing up capacity on our congested network.

Update paper

11 May 2021

ORR has published its emerging findings in the signalling market study. ORR raises concerns that two main players, Siemens and Alstom, enjoy significant power in the Great British signalling market, and alternative companies struggle to compete with them on a level playing field.

ORR is challenging industry to ensure that new players have a fair opportunity to compete and are incentivised to invest and bid for GB signalling projects. ORR will lead industry to develop solutions to tackle the barriers it has identified. These will assist Network Rail in maintaining an effective and safe signalling system enable increased competition and facilitate the introduction of new approaches and products.

Launch of market study Collapse accordion Open accordion

12 November 2020

We have launched a market study into the supply of signalling systems. This study builds on our previous work into the supply of signalling systems which was halted in April 2020 to allow industry to react to the COVID crisis. 

We intend to focus on supply chains for the delivery of significant signalling projects. We want to look at the strength of competition for tenders, and, incentives to compete in the market with a focus on whether there are any barriers to innovation or new entrants entering with new technology solutions. We are particularly interested in the ability of the supply chain to build up capacity for the rollout of the digital railway, and want to look at any factors affecting the build-up of capacity or restricting competition.  

We are inviting comments on our proposed approach and areas of focus set out in the Statement of scope from interested parties by 11 January 2021.

Timeline Collapse accordion Open accordion

Date Action
12 November 2020 Launch
11 January 2021 Deadline for responses to the Statement of Scope
11 May 2021 Deadline for Market Investigation Reference (MIR) decision