About Us

Our Structure

Network Rail's ‘matrix’ structure is designed to ensure that our routes are supported by a national framework through five central services that serve the routes as effectively as possible.

Click on the image to open a larger diagram depicting how we are organised, or you can read about this in more detail below

All the key things you need to know about us in a one page summary

Network Rail owns, operates and develops Britain’s railway – the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. The 18 largest stations are run by the company itself, while all the others, over 2,500, are run by one of the country’s train operating companies.

Network Rail’s role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway every day for the four and half million people and businesses who rely on it. The company carefully manages and delivers thousands of projects every year that form part of the £multi-billion Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation’s railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced – a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Network Rail is a public company, answerable to Government via the Department for Transport (DfT), and runs the day-to-day railway through nine devolved, geographically based businesses, called routes. The routes manage and run the railway network in their area and work closely with their local train operating companies to deliver the best service possible for customers.

Download an organogram of our leadership and business structure.

Network Rail's routes

Network Rail has devolved its day-to-day business of running Britain’s railways into nine routes. Each is a big complex business in its own right, employing thousands of people and responsible for billions of pounds of expenditure every year.

Each is run by a managing director and their senior leadership team to deliver a safe and reliable railway for passengers and for the business’ customers.

The nine routes are supported by a handful of central services that provide a national framework, such as standards and services, where economies of scale or specialist expertise mean it makes sense to provide these from a central point, servicing their customers, the routes.

Our nine routes

Network Rail’s national framework – the central services:

While the routes are the operational heart of Network Rail, the company’s new ‘matrix’ structure is designed to ensure that they are supported by a national framework through five central services that serve the routes as effectively as possible, offering specialist services and advice, delivering economies of scale and providing the ‘glue’ to ensure the nine routes function as a coherent network and are greater than the sum of their parts.

Network Rail’s matrix structure

The five central services within the national framework are:

  • The System Operator and Technical Authority. These are national functions that ensure that the value of the whole network is greater than the sum of its parts. They do this by maximising the available space for train services across the network as a whole, driving consistency in those areas where this really matters
  • Infrastructure Projects and the Route Services directorate are both service organisations to the route businesses. The route businesses only incur costs if they choose to 'buy' services from these entities, as explained in further detail below
  • And Digital Railway, the industry change programme to tackle Britain’s rail capacity crunch by accelerating the digital modernisation of the railway