Other competition work


We have a duty to keep the provision of railway services under review and to take appropriate measures where markets are not working to the benefit of users or funders.

As well as our market reviews and market studies, ORR engages in a range of other activities to promote competition. This includes:

  • Working and engaging with merger authorities such as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (with whom we have a Memorandum of Understanding), or the European Commission. While ORR does not have the power to review or block mergers, it can provide expert advice to the competent authority, particularly where it considers that competition in railway markets may be harmed.
  • Policy work to consider what ORR can do more broadly to promote competition in railway markets.
  • Engaging with other regulators and government bodies such as the CMA in relation to rail policy work. For example, ORR supported and assisted the CMA’s competition policy project on introducing ‘on-rail’ competition in the passenger rail services in GB.
  • Working to ensure our competition duties are considered across the whole range of ORR’s functions. This includes, for example, working with the access and licensing team to assess applications for access to the network.
  • Being an active member of UKCN and UKRN. UKCN is the UK Competition Network which enables cooperation between CMA and UK sector regulators with competition law powers. UKRN is the UK Regulators Network, which brings together the regulators of our utility, transport, financial, health and legal services to help make regulation work well for consumers and the economy.
  • Engaging with industry to increase awareness of, and compliance with, competition law.

Previous merger activity

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Siemens/ Alstom Merger
ORR engaged with the European Commission regarding the proposed merger of Siemens and Alstom. ORR was concerned that the merger would lead to a significant lessening of competition inGreat Britain’s signalling and rolling stock markets. On 6 February 2019, the European Commission prohibited the proposed merger on the basis that it would have harmed competition in markets for signalling and very high-speed trains.