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  • Our governance structure

    We are the not-for-dividend owner and operator of Britain’s railway infrastructure. We aim to deliver a safe, reliable and efficient railway for passenger and freight trains.

  • Following reclassification as an arm’s-length central government body in 2014, we retain the commercial and operational freedom to manage Britain’s railway infrastructure within regulatory and control frameworks.

    Our framework agreement with the Department for Transport sets out how we interact in terms of financial management and corporate governance.

    Who our board is accountable to

    Our board is accountable to:

    • The Office of Rail and Road, which determines the income we receive from government and the outputs we must achieve during each five-year control period.
      The board is also accountable to the Office of Rail and Road for our health and safety performance.
    • Parliament – our chief executive Mark Carne is personally accountable to Parliament for Network Rail’s stewardship of the public funding it receives. This includes following the principles, rules, guidance and advice set out by government in Managing public money, available from GOV.UK.
    • The Secretary of State for Transport, as regards the board’s leadership and management of the business.

    In addition, the board is responsible for running Network Rail to the standards required of a company with shares listed on the London Stock Exchange, including compliance with governance codes and reporting requirements.

    Our funding

    Network Rail’s income comes from three sources:

    • Direct grants from the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland).
    • Charges for track access  levied on the passenger and freight train operators that use our network.
    • Income from our commercial property.

    We receive our government funding in five-year blocks called control periods. We are currently in Control Period 5 (2014 to 2019).


    We have previously raised bonds in the capital markets with a UK Government guarantee to fund capital expenditure and to re-finance existing debt. Following Network Rail’s reclassification, we no longer issue bonds but instead borrow direct from Government through a £30.175bn loan facility designed to cover our funding requirements in Control Period 5. Existing UKRAIL bonds are unaffected by this change.

    How we are regulated

    We are regulated by the Office of Rail and Road for our stewardship of the rail infrastructure. Every five years, we publish a delivery plan setting out what we will deliver in the next five-year control period, and then publish an update on our progress each year.

    Find out more about how we are regulated.