Monitoring markets

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.

There are a number of ways in which we perform our market monitoring duties. These include:

  • Undertaking market reviews.
  • Undertaking formal market studies under the Enterprise Act 2002 which may lead to us making a market investigation reference to the Competition and Markets Authority who have extensive powers to remedy market issues.
  • Making directions to businesses to correct market distortions or address undesirable developments under the Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations 2016.
  • We do not have the power to review or block mergers. However, we will work and engage with merger authorities such as the CMA or the European Commission where we consider competition in railway markets may be harmed.

Current public studies

Current merger activity


We have published a guidance document on our approach to monitoring and reviewing markets which provides further detail on how we intend to fulfil our responsibilities and use our powers. We have also published prioritisation criteria, in order to help us focus our resource in a way that delivers most value from our interventions.

ORR’s guidance on approach to monitoring and reviewing markets

Suggestions for markets to review

We normally assess and identify areas and markets on which to focus our activities on an annual basis. We welcome suggestions from businesses and consumers as to where they feel would benefit from a review or possible intervention.

If you wish to make a suggestion to us, please consult our guidance document and then use our Market Proposal Form at Annex C to provide your views and any supporting information that you might have.