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Reviewing our standards

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.


Challenges received so far

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 learn about submitting a challenge to any of our standards by reading the Standards Challenge Process User Guide. If you’d like to submit a challenge to a Network Rail standard, you can visit the Standards Challenge registration page. Registration is simple and, once approved, you will be invited to log in and apply using our webform. 

Access to Standards

Suppliers and key stakeholders are able to access Network Rail’s standards and control documents free of charge, by completing this registration form. Once your account has been set-up, you will receive your log in details and a link to the Network Rail Standards Portal. Within the portal you’ll find a guidance document to help you get started.

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 Full details of the process can be found on research and development pages.

Network Rail standards

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