The Network Code is a set of contractual rules incorporated into each track access agreement between Network Rail and all train operators.

It covers those areas where all parties are obliged to work together to the same standards and timescales. This includes such areas as:

  • Developing the timetable
  • Making changes to the network or to vehicles
  • Environmental protection
  • Standards of performance monitoring
  • Resolving contractual disputes
  • Managing operational disruption

Any new operators on the network will need to sign up to the Network Code.

The Network Code is a set of rules which is incorporated into, and therefore forms part of, each bilateral access contract between Network Rail and holders of rights of access to the track owned and operated by Network Rail (holders of “access rights”).

Prior to 1 August 2004, the Network Code was called the “Track Access Conditions”. Each version of the Network Code (and Track Access Conditions) in effect since 1 January 1996 is provided via this page.

Three further documents associated with the Network Code are also provided. The Delay Attribution Principles and Rules (DAPR) and the Performance Data Accuracy Code (PDAC) are incorporated into the Network Code itself. The DAPR provides guidance on the attribution of delay across the Network and was first published in September 2002. The PDAC relates to the standards of performance data accuracy and was first published in April 1996.

The third document is the Access Dispute Resolution Rules (ADRR). The ADRR form an annex to the Network Code and are used for the resolution of disputes arising usually from access contracts.

The Network Code has recently undergone considerable reform. A number of changes were introduced in October 2007 when the document was re-issued. Discussion on further reform is currently taking place.

The Class Representative Committee (CRC) is responsible for considering and (where appropriate) approving Proposals for Change to the Network Code and the Access Dispute Resolution Rules.

Industry parties with track access rights are divided into four ‘Classes', each of which is represented on the CRC in order to ensure that the changes to the Network Code reflect the interests of the whole industry. The four classes are franchised passenger Train Operators; non-franchised passenger Train Operators; non-passenger Train Operators and Network Rail.

More detail regarding the constitution and functions of this committee can be found in Part C of the Network Code.

The folders below contain the agenda, agenda items and minutes relating to all CRC meetings held since 1 January 1996. Details about the Proposals for Change considered by the CRC at these meetings can be found under the Proposals for Change section.

Part C of the Network Code sets out the ‘Proposal for Change' procedure. This is the democratic process by which the Network Code and the Access Dispute Resolution Rules (ADRR) can be amended.

Any Class Member, Access Option Holder or the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) may put forward a Proposal for Change for consultation with the industry and consideration by the Class Representative Committee (CRC). The ORR has the final right of approval in respect of the implementation of Proposals for Change.

The folders below contain the information in relation to each Proposal for Change raised since 1 January 1996, including the Proposals for Change, representations received during industry consultation and decisions by the CRC or ORR as relevant.

Network change

This section of the code is relevant if your track access contract needs to reflect any changes arising from:

  • New rolling stock to be brought into service
  • Changes to the physica lcharacteristics of vehicles currently operated

If you’re proposing such changes, you may need to go through the vehicle change process. ‘Vehicle Change’ addresses contractual track access requirements and is separate to the ‘vehicle compatibility’ requirements.

Put simply, vehicle change is a consultation process. It’s designed to allow both you as the train operator and us at Network Rail to determine whether the rolling stock changes you’re proposing will materially affect the way we maintain oroperate the network, or the way train operators run their trains.

The vehicle change process forms part of the Network Code, which is incorporated in to every train operator’s track-access contract. It is set out in Part F of the Network Code.

Other incorporated documents

Three other formal documents are incorporated into the Network Code, with links provided below.

  • Delay Attribution Principles and Rules
  • Performance Delay Accuracy Code (PDAC)
  • Railway Operational Code (ROC)