Access for freight operators

The documents contained below provides guidance and the application form for track access by freight operators. Industry standard Model Contracts are included as well as details of General Approvals for track access and ports and terminals which cover situations where you may enter or amend contracts without needing to apply to us for specific approval.

For guidance on how to apply for a track access contract for a passenger operator (including charter and open access) please read our track access guidance.

Potential new entrants to the market should familiarise themselves with our Starting Mainline Rail Operations pdf icon PDF, 455 Kb document.

We advise all applicants to use our model contracts, provided below.

Applicants should note this guidance on how the 2018 periodic review (PR18) will apply to new access contracts.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Application form

Applicants should use a Form F application form for all applications under sections 17-22A.

The form is available on our Track access forms, model contracts and general approvals page.

Model contracts

Applicants are advised to begin with the freight model contract. Further guidance on this can be found in our track access guidance.

The model contracts are available on our Track access forms, model contracts and general approvals page.

Freight general approvals

We have powers under sections 18 and 22 of the Act to grant general approvals. The current freight general approvals are listed below:

General Approval for freight track access contracts 2016 which:

  • enables Network Rail and a freight operator to enter into a track access contract for up to 5 years and permits contingent and some firm access rights;
  • permits Network Rail and the freight operator to amend their track access contract without our specific approval, subject to certain conditions. Any other amendments will require our specific approval under section 22 or directions under section 22A of the Act;
  • enables Network Rail and freight end-customers to enter into a track access contract for up to 5 years and permits contingent and some firm access rights;
  • allows Network Rail and a freight operator (nominated by a freight end-customer) to enter into an end-customer-specific freight track access contract; and
  • enables a freight operator and Network Rail to make certain changes to their existing track access contract relating to liability; necessary where the freight operator has a customer-specific track access contract.

Facility Access General Approval 2018
It enables facility owners who are not an Infrastructure Manager and their access beneficiaries to enter into access contracts at those facilities without our specific approval, within the terms outlined. More information on facility access agreements is available.

For previous access application decisions, please see our decisions page.