Railway Safety Regulations 1999

Explains the application of the Railway Safety  Regulations 1999.

The Railway Safety Regulations 1999 (RSR 99) required the installation of a form of train protection on the railway, and the staged withdrawal of Mark I rolling stock and of rolling stock with hinged doors without central locking. The RSR 99 were introduced to deal with safety risks highlighted by a series of accidents from trains passing signals at danger and collisions involving Mark 1 rolling stock.

Under the RSR 99:

  • A train operator must not operate a train without installing a train protection system for that train;
  • An infrastructure manager must not permit the operation of any train without a train protection system for the relevant railway.
  • A train operator must not operate Mark I or hinged door vehicles on the railway and the infrastructure manager must not permit the operation of such vehicles on the railway unless these vehicles have been modified to prevent the underframes of vehicles overrding.

Regulation 6 of the RSR Regulations allows us to grant exemptions from any requirement imposed by the regulations and to attach conditions to any such exemptions.

Review of the Regulations

We carried out a review of RSR 99 in 2007. Most respondents agreed that the basic objectives of the Regulations had clearly been met with the completion of the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) fitment programme and withdrawal of Mark I rolling stock (apart from heritage vehicles operated on the mainline for which exemptions have been granted). 

However, there was a split in respondents who believed that that the Regulations should be retained to ensure that the higher safety specifications continue to be delivered, and those respondents who believed there was no value in retaining the Regulations because the key requirements of the legislation could be reflected in the Railway Group Standards and The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (ROGS). Without a clear case to support immediate changes to RSR 99 review outcomes focussed on having identifiying areas for future improvement.

In 2012 we started a review of the regulations under the Red Tape Challenge. We are reviewing these regulations along with the Railway Safety (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 1997 and the Railway Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2001. Our work on this is underway and consultation on proposals for revision is planned for Winter 2014.

The RTC is a cross-Whitehall programme, and is led by a small central team across Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to review all regulations in force across a range of industry sectors. The starting point of the RTC is that 'a regulation should go or its aim be achieved in a different, non-government way, unless there is a clear and good justification for government being involved. 

And even where there is a good case for this, we must sweep away unnecessary bureaucracy and complexity, end gold-plating of EU directives, and challenge overzealous administration and enforcement.' Review of regulations concerning the rail industry was carried out in 2011 and a public consultation on initial findings was completed in November 2011.