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We are encouraging contractors, suppliers and stakeholders to propose changes to our standards.

Standards are the detailed requirements that underpin how the railway and the delivery of improvement projects are run. The changes are to encourage greater innovation, cost efficiency and third-party funding into the rail network, whilst maintaining safety.

We have already updated and streamlined many of our standards to reduce both complexity and cost, and to encourage innovation.

We've adopted a collaborative and iterative approach in developing the new standards challenge process in partnership with the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and a number of key suppliers and stakeholders.

As part of the process, suppliers and other stakeholders can submit a standards challenge application when they consider the standard to be incorrect, not enable the application of best practice, or drive increased cost without comparable benefit. We will review all challenges received, and conduct a rigorous impact assessment across a broad range of output capabilities such as safety, performance, environment and compatibility to make sure the capabilities are not compromised.

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Challenges received so far

You can download a detailed list of the standards challenged to date below. 

We are reviewing all challenges received, and will conduct a rigorous impact assessment to make sure safety, performance, compatibility and the environment are not compromised.  Of the challenges received to date that have been evaluated, around 70% have resulted in agreement being reached with the standard owner to modify the standard. 

How to submit a challenge

You can submit a challenge to any of our standards by reading the guidance for completing the standards challenge application and completing a standards challenge form below. If after reading the catalogue of Network Rail standards you'd like to make a challenge, you can request a copy of the standard by emailing the standards management team: standardsmanagement@networkrail.co.uk 

Access to Standards

A dedicated portal has been launched in association with IHS Markit to make it easier for external suppliers and key stakeholders to access Network Rail's standards and control documents free of charge. The new portal has been established following engagement with the rail sector and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as part of Network Rail's commitment to be an efficient and dependable partner. Instructions on how to register can be found on the portal home page. All first-time users will need to be verified for eligibility before receiving the standard(s) ordered. This may take up to seven days. Once eligibility has been verified you will receive an e-mail with a link to the PDF of the standard. 

For further information and contact details download ‘Accessing Network Rail standards for contractors and suppliers’ below. 

New products and innovations 

In partnership with industry, we look at how research, development and technology can make train travel more comfortable, accessible, reliable and affordable. In certain cases, we’ve now improved new product acceptance on the railways to just 30 days. Innovators with new product ideas must complete a research and development challenge form (docx) and email it to R&D@networkrail.co.uk. Full details of the process can be found on research and development pages.

Network Rail standards

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