The opening of a new railway station, or significant improvements to one, brings many benefits for the community it serves- often increasing a station’s capacity, improving accessibility, and providing modern facilities.
So it’s important that stations are ready to enter into service as soon as possible, while making sure the organisation that built them has complied with standards covering health and safety, accessibility, and environmental protection, among others.
That’s what ORR’s authorisation process is designed to do. We authorise railway stations, rolling stock and other infrastructure that are new or have had a major upgrade or renewal.
During that process, we work with organisations that sponsor projects, often Network Rail or local authorities for railway stations, to guide them through the process. We then provide one of the final seals of approval that means a station can enter into service.
Cherry Lam is one of ORR’s civil engineers who works on authorisations. In a recent episode of the Rail and Road Pod, she spoke about the role ORR plays in getting stations ready to open:
“The role ORR plays under authorisation regulation is quite important because that standard actually, for example, sets out the accessibility requirement for new stations or stations with major work taking place. So achieving compliance with those standards would make a station easier for the public to use. So I'm pleased that ORR's role under the authorisation process actually allows me to be part of the journey with the industry to improve the accessibility of railway stations for the passenger.”
Our year in authorisations
2023 was a very busy year – we authorised 38 new or significantly improved stations, rolling stock or pieces of infrastructure. That included 11 railway stations across Great Britain:
- East Linton Station in East Lothian, Scotland
- Quakers Yard Station in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales
- Castleford Station (reinstatement of platform two) in West Yorkshire, England
- Gatwick Airport Station in London
- Headbolt Lane in Liverpool
- Brent Cross West Station in London
- Thanet Parkway Station in Kent
- Marsh Barton Station in Devon
- Portway Park and Ride Station in Bristol
- Reading Green Park Station in Reading
- Inverness Airport Station
Here's a short video highlighting some of our station authorisations in 2023: