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  • Passenger services

    We help train operators to provide passenger services across Britain

  • A safe, reliable rail network

    We operate, maintain and improve every aspect of the railway infrastructure. We are committed to providing safe and reliable rail routes on which passenger train operators can run services to meet ever-increasing passenger demand.

    Our customers include existing and potential new operators of train services. Approaches are welcomed equally from:

    • Potential new passenger train operators applying for open access
    • Existing holders of track access rights, in relation to new passenger track access contracts or amendment of existing track access contracts
    • Prospective franchisees in relation to franchise replacement and franchise extension

    Our passenger services business is developed and managed by our Customer Service team. The team is available to advise on any aspect of establishing or extending passenger train services, including all legal, operational and contractual requirements.

    Passenger train franchises

    We support the Department for Transport (DfT) in clarifying the outputs required of passenger train franchises. We work closely with the DfT on planning, and providing information for developing and evaluating bids and associated contracts. Over the next few years, a number of franchises will be re-mapped and renegotiated.

    Open access

    If a potential operator identifies a new market for train services not currently served by a franchise, they can apply to us for open access rights to run those trains. Visit our Passenger operators section to see our current open access customers.

    Information on works affecting the network

    For information on current engineering works and subsequent disruptions to the network, please visit National Rail Enquiries.

    See also major projects we're currently undertaking.

  • More information

    Code of Practice 

    Our Code of Practice contains valuable information for potential new operators or those wishing to extend existing operations. This includes:

    • A procedural guide for new operators seeking to develop a train service timetable and gain a Track Access Agreement
    • General conditions for access, including stations
    • How to gain approval for new train equipment
    • Rules of the route

    Network Statement  

    We have produced a Network Statement – a single source of information that describes the services we provide to customers that wish to operate trains on the main rail network in Great Britain.

    Any party wishing to operate trains on the network must satisfy the relevant legal requirements. These include holding a train operator's licence and having a valid Safety Case (see Health & Safety Executive).