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If you're thinking about buying land or property next to the railway, there are some important things you need to know
The majority of railway lines in Great Britain are owned by us so if you buy a property near the railway it’s likely you’ll be one of our neighbours.
There are a small number of railway lines, both used and disused, that we do not own. You can find who the current owner is by checking the Land Registry records:
Some lines are owned by the following organisations:
The railway can be a noisy place, both in normal day-to-day operation and during maintenance and improvement work. We're doing a lot to reduce noise, but sometimes it is unavoidable.
You can find out more here:
While we work hard to protect your privacy, the law does allow us to enter your land in order to carry out repairs or to prevent an accident (see section 14 of the Railway Regulation Act 1842).
We’ll always try to let you know if we need to do this, but on rare occasions we may have to do it at very short notice if there’s a major safety issue.
For more details on access rights and restrictions check the title deed to your property.
It’s possible that a disused railway line might be reactivated or the number, type and times of trains using an active line could change. This could include night freight trains.
We publish Route Utilisation Strategy documents which outline our development plans.
Check the Route Utilisation Strategy for your area
We’re not the sole authority in charge of these developments so it is difficult to be 100% accurate with what developments will take place.
It’s worth checking with your local authority too. Some developments such as new railway lines have to be logged with them for planning permission first.
Other companies may be planning to build on the railway. A number of depots and stations are let to passenger and freight train companies who may have plans to develop those facilities.
There may be restrictions on building next to the railway line – these are usually included in your title deed. Restrictions are usually to keep you safe, for example due to the dangers of working near buried cables, electrified tracks or high voltage overhead cables.
If you want to maintain or build on your land, you have no legal right of access to enter the railway. We might give you consent so long as railway services and the safety of the builders are not compromised.
Please contact us first before you enter our land as doing so without consent is a criminal act (according to section 55 of the British Transport Commission Act 1949).
Apply to enter Network Rail land
When it comes to maintaining boundary walls and fences between your property and the railway, it can be difficult to determine who has responsibility. Each case is unique and identifying liabilities for walls and fences can cost a lot and might not be conclusive.
If you’re buying a house you may be advised to carry out a conveyancing search. There’s no official railway search and we have no legal obligation to respond to these requests, but we'll be as helpful as we can be.
Records of the services in / over land next to the railway are generally kept by the utility companies so you should contact them first to see if they can help. We don't hold records of services outside our boundaries.
If you want to know more about buying a house next to the railway, or have a problem with any of the issues above you can get in touch with us.
If you're interested in developing or buying our land, please see our doing business with us.
If you have a concern or question, call our 24-hour helpline:
08457 11 41 41
or contact us online