Permissions, approvals & decisions

We license railway operators and approve access agreements in order to promote a safe and fair railway industry.

You can access all our application forms, related guidance and decisions from this page.

If you are a prospective new entrant to the rail industry, we have produced guidance which summarises our regulatory requirements called starting mainline rail operations: a guide to the regulatory framework pdf icon PDF, 455 Kb.

Health and safety

We grant health and safety permissions and approvals to railway operators. There is detailed guidance on how to apply.

See the following web pages for more information on each of the main areas where a legal approval may be needed from us.

Health and safety certificates issued

The safety certificates listed below relate to ROGS (The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006).

Health and safety enforcement notices and prosecutions

Details of our legal notices, which include improvement and prohibition notices, and prosecutions.

Transport and Works Act Orders

If you need to consult us on a draft Transport and Works Act Order please contact us via our customer correspondence team in the first instance.


Licensing is one of our core statutory functions. If you want to operate a train, station, network or light maintenance depot you will need to be covered by a licence or licence exemption.

Through licensing we promote effective and efficient working relationships between industry parties and safeguard the public interest.

If you are a railway operator, there is a range of regulatory requirements.

We publish disabled people’s protection policy (DPPP) and complaints handling procedures (CHP) decision letters.

Read more about our role in licensing and find a list of all the current licences we have issued.

Track access

If you want to run trains on the national network, you will need to agree an access contract with Network Rail which is then subject to approval by us. We also publish a list of our track access forms, guidance and decisions.

Decisions on appeals determined under Part M of the Network Code and appeals under Regulation 29 of the Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) Regulations 2005 are also available.

Read more about track access arrangements

Station and depot access

There is a fixed process for applying for access to stations and depots. We approve all access agreements between facility owners and railway operators. We also publish a list of our station and depot decisions.

Read more station and depot access arrangements

High Speed 1 access

We approve all track access contracts between High Speed 1 Ltd and other operators wishing to use the High Speed 1 railway. We also publish a list of our forms and decisions.

Read more about High speed 1 arrangements


We publish details of competition investigation decisions, and there is also an archive of past competition investigation decisions.

Read more about our competition duties

Network Rail regulation

We publish a list of all our Network Rail licence enforcement taken, as well as periodic review final determinations such as the periodic review 2013 (PR13) and the periodic review 2008 (PR08).

Read more about how to approach Network Rail regulation

Conclusions published after a consultation

Some of our closed consultations include our decisions or conclusions.