The ORR regulates the rail industry’s health and safety performance, we hold Network Rail and High Speed 1 (HS1) to account and we make sure that the rail industry is competitive and fair. We are also the monitor of Highways England and we have economic regulatory functions in relation to railways in Northern Ireland and for the northern half of the Channel Tunnel, situated in the UK.
Our functions – Our safety and economic functions are driven by EU and UK legislation – and we are accountable to Parliament and the public. This provides an overview of our role.
Our strategy – Our long-term vision for the mainline railway industry is a partnership of Network Rail, operators, suppliers and funders working together to deliver a safe, high performing, efficient and developing railway.
The law and our duties – We operate within the framework set by UK and European legislation and we are accountable through Parliament and the courts.
Our enforcement powers are established by UK and EU legislation.
The most important laws that apply to us are:
When planning actions we consider:
Strategic significance – We will consider how our intervention will deliver outcomes which are in line with our strategic objectives; for example to secure value for money from the railway, for users and funders.
Are we best placed to act? – In some cases, it may be more appropriate for a body other than ORR to investigate or take action (e.g. a passenger body, the franchising authority or an industry association). We will consider, on a case-by-case basis, whether or not there are other organisations better placed to take the matter forward.
Costs – For efficiency reasons we will estimate the internal and external costs attached to our intervention. The internal costs will include any opportunity costs (e.g. knock-on effects on our current and future portfolio of strategic work). It is important that the costs of our intervention are proportionate to the impact that we are seeking.
Risks – We will adopt a risk-based approach when assessing whether or not a matter constitutes a priority. The risks that we will consider include:
A 'hacktivist' group called Cyberpartisans has breached the computer systems of Belarusian Railways to prevent Russian troop movements.
HS2 has signed the Rail Supply Group’s Work Pipeline Visibility Charter and will share its rail systems' technical specifications publicly.
WeBuild has begun work on Lot H41 Gola del Sill‐Pfons of the Brenner Base Tunnel using 2 tunnel‐boring machines with a diameter of over 10m.
Auckland Transport has awarded a contract for 23 electric multiple units (EMUs) to Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF.
Paris Metro operator RATP has renewed its maintenance contract with Hitachi Rail, continuing a partnership that's lasted over 100 years.
Deutsche Bahn will begin testing Alstom’s battery electric multiple unit (BEMU) on DB Regio passenger services from next week.
A transitional timetable for lines previously operated by Abellio ensures regional rail passenger services continue to function reliably.
The ‘High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill’ – HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg – will be introduced in parliament today (24 January 2022).
UWC gains certification from Federal Railway Certification Register for its new model of tank car, designed for transporting chemicals.
Alstom has released the details of its orders and sales for the first nine months of the financial year 2021/22.
Rail freight revolution: A train equipped with digital automatic couplers had departed on a practical test journey in Germany.
Network Rail is about to start a new trial project to improve lineside biodiversity on the West Highland Line.
As the first phase of the Elizabeth line trial operations comes to an end, passenger services are set to begin in the first half of 2022.
Hitachi Rail has won the contract to operate and maintain the autonomous metro at Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh.
DB Cargo is investing in a new climate-friendly locomotive fleet with alternative drives. This will improve efficiency and sustainability.
Sławomir Cyza has been appointed CEO and Managing Director (MD) of Alstom in Poland, Ukraine and Baltic States.
RB Rail AS and an international consortium signed an agreement relating to the project's control-command and signalling component.
HS2 has chosen TK Elevator to manufacture and install approximately 160 lifts and 130 escalators at its four main stations.
Overnight engineering work begins on 24 January to improve the railway line between Dawlish and Holcombe in Devon.
Canadian National wants the Surface Transportation Board to order the divestiture of KCS's Springfield Line as part of the CP-KCS merger.
Stadler has won a contract worth up to €4bn to supply a consortium of six transport companies with up to 504 CITYLINK tram-train vehicles.
Vienna: Wiener Lienen's new X-car metro trains will feature more information-rich passenger information displays.
Amit Bose has been confirmed as the 15th Administrator of the United States Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
Hitachi Rail has signed a long-term partnership agreement with IMT to add the company’s monitoring sensors to its digital freight service.
HS2 archaeologists have excavated a vast roman settlement in Northamptonshire - one of over 100 sites HS2 has examined since 2018.
An (MoU)has been signed between DB and five federal states to improve rail infrastructure and expand services across northern Germany.
Alstom has signed an agreement to provide up to 200 Coradia Nordic trains to Norske Tog in Norway's largest rail procurement contract.
HS2 has published its Net Zero Carbon Plan, which sets out how it plans to make the project net zero carbon from 2035.
The Lusail tramway has entered commercial service in Qatar with 28 low-floor Alstom Citadis X05 trams carrying passengers in the city.
STM Trading House is supplying Russian port terminals in Khabarovsk and Novorossiysk with its latest TEM14M shunting locomotives.
DB Regio has ordered 17 Coradia Stream electric multiple units for the Main-Weser subnetwork between Frankfurt, Giessen, Marburg and Kassel.
HS2 has revealed the first images of its 1.5 mile-long Greatworth tunnel - one of three ‘green tunnels’ to be built in Bucks and Notts.
Amtrak and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) have signed an agreement to support each other’s expansion plans in North America.
Experts from industry and academia are developing an on-board system that can identify low adhesion hazards such as leaves on the line.
Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) has launched a recruitment drive to support HS2 construction works planned for 2022 and beyond.
Network Rail has begun track, bridge and station works designed to improve services for travellers between London and Anglia.
Rail vehicle rental company Railpool has signed a framework agreement with Siemens Mobility for 100 Vectron MS locomotives.
Over 1,000 stations across Germany were renovated last year as part of Deutsche Bahn’s modernisation programme.
Bucharest’s metro network operator Metrorex has chosen Alstom to continue providing maintenance services for its fleet until 2036.
Britain: There have been no rail services on Christmas Day for 40 years and once again Network Rail has delivered a swathe of upgrades.
Jonn Elledge gets into the Christmas spirit and does some finger-pointing as to who is really to blame for the state of Britain's railways.
Hitachi Rail is upgrading Nordic Re-Finance's fleet of TMe diesel-electric locomotives with ERTMS and STM. The work will be complete by 2023.
Stadler enters the Guinness Book of Records for the longest range travelled by a train in battery-only mode.
Alstom's driverless automatic people mover has entered passenger service at Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport.
Siemens Mobility will supply Akiem with 20 Vectron locomotives. This is the first order under a framework agreement signed in August 2021.
Stadler is taking over German signalling expert BBR Group in order to strengthen its position in the railway signalling market.
Platform construction has started at Winslow as part of the East West Rail project. 500 precast concrete platform units will be laid.
Electrification of the railway line between Kettering and Market Harborough on the Midland Main Line to begin on 24 December 2021.
Belgian operator SNCB is exercising a contract option under a framework agreement signed in 2015 for 98 M7 train cars.
The first of 56 giant concrete piers for the Colne Valley Viaduct has been cast. Once complete, this will be the UK's longest rail bridge.
Alstom is to provide 16 eight-car Omneo Premium trains for the Marseille-Nice line that Transdev will operate from 2025.
VGF has awarded the contract for Frankfurt's metro and tram network digital train control system to Siemens Mobility.
25 Alstom Citadis X05 trams have entered passenger service on Attiko Metro’s Athens and Piraeus network, having completed successful testing.
Amtrak has announced that CEO Bill Flynn is retiring. Stephen Gardner will consequently be appointed as the company’s President and CEO.
CP has completed its purchase of KCS. This will lead to the creation of the only single-line railway linking the Canada, USA and Mexico.
Progress Rail, BNSF Railway and Chevron have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to demonstrate a hydrogen-powered locomotive.
Siemens Mobility has won a contract with Sporveien AS to install its CBTC technology on the Oslo Metro network.
Following ongoing financial problems, NS-subsidiary Abellio will cease operating in Germany, with concessions awarded to other operators.
Alstom will build a new production line in Morocco in order to manufacture on-board transformers in-country.
Trains are now alternately running in both directions on the Belorusskaya – Savyolovskaya track of the Moscow Central Diameter 1 (MCD-1).
Two new Nightjet lines are launching, providing night-time rail travel between Vienna – Munich – Paris and Zurich – Cologne – Amsterdam.
Alstom has signed a ten-year framework agreement with Irish Rail (IE) for up to 750 new X’trapolis commuter rail cars.
Go-Ahead has launched its first services in the German state of Bavaria, following the launch of services in Baden-Württemberg in 2019.
Engineering works will take place at Salisbury to check the alignment of the new track laid after the collision at Fisherton Tunnel.
Siemens Mobility has been awarded the contract to deliver signalling works for the Carstairs remodelling project in Scotland.
Canadian Pacific (CP) shareholders have voted in favour of the CP - Kansas City Southern (KCS) merger agreement.
The contract to design, build and maintain the HS2 rolling stock fleet for Phase 1 London-Birmingham has gone to the Hitachi Rail-Alstom JV.
Transport for the North (TfN) has launched a transport decarbonisation strategy for the north of England - the first of its kind.
Moscow Metro has opened a section of the Big Circle Line (BCL) in the south and west of the city, with 10 new stations.
The US Federal Railroad Administration has issued $198 million in funding to repair intercity passenger railroad infrastructure and assets.
As part of an initiative to help tackle period poverty, Network Rail has begun offering free sanitary products at Leeds station.
The ARTC has chosen Martinus as the preferred contractor for delivery of the Inland Rail sections of its Rail Corridor Programme.
The UAE Railways Program, a strategy for the Emirates’ railway sector, has been officially launched at a special event at Dubai’s EXPO 2020.
Work on Toronto’s Eglington Crosstown West Extension is a step closer to starting, as the project’s TBMs are now on their way to Canada.
A trial using silicone carbide semiconductor technology in a Siemens Mobility Avenio tram in Munich has successfully concluded.
The first tunnel boring machine working on HS2 in the Midlands launched on 2 December, excavating a one-mile tunnel in Warwickshire.
Arriva Group, which owns the Chiltern Railways operating company, has signed a six-year National Rail Contract with the DfT.
Melbourne’s tram network is receiving a boost to its capacity as new E-class trams enter passenger service on Route 58 this month.
Germany has been referred to the EU Court of Justice regarding non-compliance with safety and interoperability requirements.
Alstom has signed an MoU with oil and gas company MOL to explore the use of hydrogen technology for rail transport in Hungary.
Transport for Wales (TfW) has taken delivery of the first of 35 Stadler Class 231 FLIRT trains ahead of testing.
As part of Alstom's acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, the companies agreed to divest a number of assets, including the V300 ZEFIRO.
Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern have now received the necessary regulatory approval from Mexican authorities regarding their merger.
Alstom has signed a contract with Metrolinx to refurbish 94 BiLevel series VII commuter rail cars for GO Transit.
Stanton Precast has been awarded the contract to deliver three 'green tunnels' for HS2 by the main works contractor EKFB.
A second track on Homburger Damm north of Frankfurt’s city centre has been put into operation by Deutsche Bahn.
The ORR has published its Rail Industry Finance report for 2020–21, showing that the sector is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
Network Rail is creating a special bridge for endangered wild hazel dormice in Lancashire in a bid to grow their populations.
Alstom and Liebherr – Aerospace and Transportation SAS have signed a collaboration agreement aimed at optimising hydrogen systems.
Hitachi has been chosen to design and build a fleet of N100 express trains for Tobu Railway Company's Tokyo and Nikko and Kinugawa service.
A new DB Cargo subsidiary, DB Cargo Transasia, has been established in Shanghai due to the popularity of the New Silk Road rail route.
Turkey’s AYGM and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality have chosen Alstom to help upgrade the country's signalling infrastructure.
CZ LOKO is looking into the feasibility of building a hydrogen-powered locomotive. This has tentatively been named the HydrogenShunter 1000.
STM has entered the rail infrastructure services market with the establishment of a new railway infrastructure division.
Alstom has agreed to hand over its Reichshoffen production site and Coradia Polyvalent and TALENT3 platforms to CAF.
The trial operations phase of the Elizabeth line has now begun. This is the final stage of the project before the line opens in 2022.
Work on HS2’s Old Oak Common 850-metre-long station box has begun. The reinforced concrete structure will form the station's frame and base.
Deutsche Bahn is applying new requirements for passengers to carry proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
Etihad Rail has completed the excavation of the nine tunnels that make up Package D of Stage Two of the UAE National Rail Network.