Licensing the railway

Operating railway assets and providing passenger and freight train services are of national importance and we safeguard them in the public interest.

The Railway (Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

The Railway (Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 ISBN 978-0-11-118204-8  have been prepared to provide a regulatory framework for the licensing of operators on the mainline railway in Great Britain if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The regulations will only come into force if and when the UK leaves the EU without an exit deal in place. ORR has published guidance to the regulations which explains:

  • the changes that have been made
  • what stays the same
  • the implications for mutual recognition of licences in Great Britain and the EU
  • transitional arrangements


The Great Britain and European Union requirements for train operator licensing.

Licence obligations

Operators of railway assets must normally comply with conditions in their licences and the Statement of National Regulatory Provisions (SNRPs)

Accessible Travel Policy (ATP)

Information aimed at train and station operators about having policies and practices in place that protect the interests of older and disabled passengers.

Complaints handling procedures

This webpage provides information on complaints handling procedures aimed at train and station operators and could also be of interest to passengers.

3rd party liability

Operators must comply with our third party liability insurance requirements. Operators’ insurance brokers should send us confirmation that adequate insurance cover is in place, in line with our general approval.

How to apply

How to apply for a licence or licence exemption, costs involved and application forms.

Model licences

The current standard versions of Model licences and Statements of National Regulatory Provisions (SNRPs) in use.

Model licence exemptions

The licence exemptions in use in the Great Britain rail industry.

Current licences

Electronic versions of licences which are in force, listed by company.

Licence exemptions

Licence exemptions exempt named operators from the requirement to hold a licence.

Licence casework consultations

Details proposals to grant licences or licence exemptions on which we are consulting.