Consultation on our approach to the enforcement of competition law in the railways sector


This consultation is now closed.

Publication of updated guidance

On 31 March 2016, having considered responses to our consultation, we published the final version of our approach to the enforcement of the Competition Act 1998 in relation to the supply of services relating to railways.

Since the publication of our previous guidelines in 2005 there have been significant developments in the framework for competition enforcement in the UK and in substantive competition law. We therefore considered it appropriate to introduce updated guidance to reflect those developments. We have also sought to capture our experience of enforcing the competition prohibitions in the railways sector, which has substantially increased since we published our previous guidelines.

The key purpose of the guidance is to assist businesses and individuals operating in the railways sector to self-assess their compliance with competition law by giving practical advice on how we expect the law might apply in this area.

The guidance provides information on:

  • the scope of our jurisdiction to enforce competition prohibitions
  • factors we will take into account when opening an investigation under the Competition Act
  • how we expect to conduct investigations under the Act

The guidance replaces ORR Competition Act guidelines: application to services relating to railways (August 2005) and also the OFT guidelines OFT430, application to services relating to railways, (October 2005).


Date published: 18 January 2016
Closing date: 14 March 2016

In the consultation we sought views on our proposed approach to the enforcement of competition prohibitions in the Competition Act 1998 (the Act) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and how we expected to apply them in the railways sector.

In particular we asked:

  • If consultees agreed with our proposals on how we expected to exercise our competition prohibition enforcement powers.
  • If consultees had any other comments on the scope or content of the guidance.
  • If consultees considered there to be any areas which they thought would benefit from further clarity.

Draft guidance for consultation