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Railhub Archive
1998-06-29 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Rail Regulator reviews Railtrack's processes for developing technical standards

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator reviews Railtrack's processes for developing technical standards

related documents

Developing technical standards - Responses to consultation and next steps (ORR, 1998)


29 June 1998
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/98/23

Rail Regulator John Swift QC today published industry responses to consultations on a proposal by Railtrack to revise its Railway Group Standards Code.

Consultations took place earlier this year and the report brings under scrutiny the railway industry's processes for determining its technical standards.

Mr Swift said: "Railtrack is obliged to prepare, and comply with, this Code under the terms of its Network Licence. I am very pleased that this process of industry consultation and discussion has now produced clear arrangements for determining changes to important industry wide technical standards.

"Railtrack have accepted suggestions as to the workings of industry bodies which are charged with the development of revised standards, although I have agreed that it has to be Railtrack - and Railtrack alone - which is responsible for the ultimate decisions on new standards, subject to satisfying the requiremtns of the Health and Safety Executive, which is the safety regulator.

"I am particularly glad to see that Railtrack has agreed to withdraw its intention to charge industry parties with the costs of developing their proposals for new standards. The development of new and improved technical and operating standards is a key responsibility for Railtrack, through its Safety and Standards Directorate, which must continue to be open and transparent in all its dealings.

"The new version of the Code will be issued by Railtrack to the Railway Group, which consists of those organisations holding railway safety cases, early next month. I am sure that the revised version will help lead to improved standards designed to meet the needs of rail users and funders in the future.

"Safety is a vitally important matter for all concerned in the movement of people and freight, and giving it the highest priority is the responsibility of all those who work in the railway industry."


The Railway Group Standards Code sets out the criteria and procedures for making changes to Railway Group Standards. These documents in turn set out the key technical standards and operating procedures for the national railway network. Examples of these Standards include the rules covering track quality, loading gauges and operating procedures. Compliance with them is a requirement of licences held by Railtrack and train, station and depot operators.

Last January Railtrack consulted on a revised draft Code with industry parties affected by the operation of the Code, as well as those responsible for safety and the promotion of growth, investment and improvement of rail services. They made a large number of observations about the draft code covering matters such as the criteria on which new or revised standards are judged, the involvement of industry parties in the change processes, the funding of proposed changes, and the drafting and layout of the Code. The views of the Health and Safety Executive, which is responsible for safety regulation throughout the railway network, have also been taken into account in this review process.

A wide range of comments was received which are available for inspection in the library of the Office of the Rail Regulator. These comments have been reviewed by the Office of the Rail Regulator and Railtrack's Safety and Standards Directorate and, as a result, a further revision of the Code has been undertaken by the Directorate. The views of industry parties are being incorporated and, as a result, the revised Code will be simpler to read and clearer to understand, and will give all those involved with the development of Railway Group Standards greater clarity over their responsibilities and involvement in the change process.

The revised Code, which Railtrack is publishing, is available from Railtrack Safety and Standards Directorate, Railtrack House, Euston Square, London, NW1 2EE - tel 0171-557-8000.

Railhub Archive ::: 1998-06-29 ORR-001


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