Find out about product acceptance and our process
What is product acceptance?
The product acceptance process gives us the assurance that products accepted for use on or about our infrastructure are:
- fit for purpose
- do not export unacceptable risks to Network Rail infrastructure.
Only accepted products, except those allowed by NR/L2/RSE/100/05, shall be used on the rail infrastructure.
Watch our video below to find out more about product acceptance
Do I need to apply for acceptance?
Network Rail standard NR/L2/RSE/100/05, Product introduction and change, governs the process for the acceptance of products.
- new or modified products, materials, equipment, and systems
- changes of application
- road-rail vehicles or attachments, and rail-mounted machines, on-track machines, road plant and portable and transportable work equipment that could affect or interact with the infrastructure.
You can view the examples of items that require approval (PDF). Please note that this list is not exhaustive and advice may be required to determine whether your product requires approval.
Please also refer to the guidance document – How to decide what needs product acceptance (PDF) for further details on the products that this process applies to.
See the attached Product Acceptance Service Guidance Note (PDF 2 MB) for more information on the Product Acceptance process and for information on how to obtain our standards.
How to find an approved product
The catalogue of accepted products is available on the PADSnet website.
PADS (Parts and Drawings System) is owned by SERCO and the data is managed by Network Rail. This includes the creation and revision of PADS numbers.
There are more than 85,000 products accepted for use on our infrastructure.
If you have any queries relating to catalogue numbers or PADSnet, please contact the Catalogue Management team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to apply for product acceptance
Applications need to be submitted by or on behalf of a Network Rail operative (applicant), who is prepared to act in a sponsorship capacity and who can demonstrate a Network Rail business requirement. Or, for Plant Assets, such as road-rail vehicles or on-track machines, by an authorised Plant Assessment Body (PAB).
You or the Network Rail Applicant (sponsor) will need to provide justification by demonstrating monetary, safety and / or performance benefits to Network Rail.
The roles and responsibilities of the Applicant (sponsor) are defined in our Guidance for Product Acceptance Sponsors document.
Applications should be submitted when products or systems have been fully developed and have reached Rail Industry Readiness level (RIRL) 6. Definitions of the Rail Industry Readiness levels are available within section 8 of the Guidance Note (PDF).
If your product has not yet reached RIRL6, please refer to our Challenge Statements.
Acceptance is subject to standard terms and conditions, which are available in the sample Certificate of Acceptance (PDF)
Product Acceptance Application form
You will receive an email notification when we have processed your application. This will include your unique product acceptance reference number and details of the next approval steps. For updates relating to progress, in the first instance please contact your Network Rail Applicant (sponsor). Or for Plant Assets, the relevant Plant Assessment Body (PAB).
If you are unable to contact the relevant applicant (sponsor) or PAB, please email us at email@example.com.
Issues and Escalation Process
Manufacturers / suppliers
In the first instance please escalate issues relating to your Product Acceptance application to your Network Rail Applicant (Sponsor). Your Sponsoring applicant should attempt to address your concerns before raising these using the process below.
For cases where you are unable to contact your Network Rail Applicant (Sponsor) after making reasonable efforts, please email a summary of your issue to PA.Issue.Escalation@networkrail.co.uk. All emails received will be reviewed and responded to within 10 working days.
Network Rail Applicants (Sponsors)
In the first instance you should attempt to resolve issues escalated to you using the existing standards and guidance for Product Acceptance and Design for Reliability.
For cases where this is not possible, please email a summary of your issue to PA.Issue.Escalation@networkrail.co.uk. All emails received will be reviewed and responded to within 10 working days.
If we require further details, are unable to resolve your issue or it requires further escalation, we will advise you accordingly after we have reviewed the supplied details.
For issues relating to Design for Reliability, these may need to be forwarded to the DFR Process Manager for resolution, we will advise if this is the case.
Challenging Network Rail standards
For issues relating to Network Rail standard challenges then please follow this link: Reviewing our standards – Network Rail.
You can submit a standards challenge application if you consider the standard to be incorrect, not enable the application of best practice, or drive increased cost without comparable benefit.
- Applications received – 44
- Certificates issued (full and trial) – 42
- % certificates issued in less than 40 days (13 period average) – 83%
- % certificates issued in less than 180 days (13 period average) – 13%
- % certificates issued in over 365 days (13 period average) – 4%
Supplier quality assurance
Suppliers and manufacturers of controlled products are required to engage in our supplier quality assurance process.