This guidance sets out our approach to regulating track access.
We make sure that passenger and freight train operating companies have fair access to the rail network – and that best use is made of capacity.
If a train operator wants to access the national railway network, it will need a track access contract with Network Rail. This page sets out what you need to know. If you have any questions, please contact us.
- Introduction, updated July 2021
- The statutory and contractual framework, updated July 2022
- The use of capacity, updated July 2022
- Duration of track access (framework agreements), updated July 2021
- The expression of access rights, updated July 2022
- International passenger services, February 2022
- The not primarily abstractive test, December 2011
- Investing in the railway: securing access, January 2018
The Economic Equilibrium Test for domestic services no longer applies. Several provisions made by The Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 only applied until 31 December 2020. As a result, from 31 December 2020 we have not been able to carry out the Economic Equilibrium Test, or make decisions based on the Economic Equilibrium Test, for domestic services. To see our withdrawn guidance on the Economic Equilibrium Test for domestic services, please contact email@example.com. For the Economic Equilibrium Test on international services please see our separate guidance.
How to apply
- Making an application, updated July 2021
- Industry code of practice for consultations, November 2017
Model track access contracts
- Model passenger contracts, updated May 2022
- Model freight operator contracts, March 2019
- Model freight customer contracts, March 2019
Charging and performance
- Charging, April 2019
- Performance, April 2019
- Possessions, April 2019
- Liability framework, April 2019
- ORR's Code of Practice for the application of Sections 16A to I of the Railways Act 1993, November 2006
- Connection contracts, November 2021
- Facility access agreements (non-Network Rail networks) May 2019
- High Speed 1 – see 'access to HS1'
- Network Code appeals, updated July 2021
- The Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations 2016, updated July 2021
ORR's Enforcement powers under The Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations 2016
For previous policy decisions and workstreams related to the criteria and procedures, please see the policy and document archive on the National Archives website.