Office of rail regulation

Office of Rail Regulation
Welsh: Swyddfa Rheoleiddio'r Rheilffyrdd
Non-ministerial government department overview
Formed July 5, 2004 (2004-07-05)
Preceding Non-ministerial government department Rail Regulator
Jurisdiction Great Britain
Headquarters 1 Kemble Street, London, WC2B 4AN
Employees 316
Annual budget £29.6 million (2009-2010) [1]
Non-ministerial government department executives Anna Walker, Chair
Richard Price, Chief Executive

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is a statutory board which is the combined economic and safety regulatory authority for Great Britain's railway network. It was established on 5 July 2004 by the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, replacing the Rail Regulator. As a non-ministerial government department it is operationally independent of central government.

Primary functions

The ORR's main functions are:

  • Regulation of Network Rail's stewardship of Britain's rail infrastructure.
  • Reviewing and revising the financial framework for the railway industry through periodic access charges reviews in which the structure and level of the allowed revenues of Network Rail are set.
  • Granting, modifying, compliance monitoring and enforcement of licences held by operators of railway assets.
  • Controlling the fair and efficient allocation of capacity of railway assets through the approval or direction of contracts for the use of track, stations, and light maintenance depots.
  • Acting as the appellate authority for certain classes of appeal of a regulatory or legal nature arising under the industry-wide network code.
  • Enforcement of railway competition law.
  • Independent health and safety regulation for the railway industry as parent body (since 2006) of HM Railway Inspectorate and for Personal Track Safety.
  • Approval of changes made to the National Routeing Guide and National Rail Conditions of Carriage.

ORR produces what is known as "the Blue Book", officially titled Railway Safety Principles and Guidance, to ensure those operating the rail network, or designing products related to it, comply with health and safety law.

Statutory duties

In carrying out its functions, ORR must discharge its statutory duties, which are its formal objectives. These are laid down in section 4 of the Railways Act 1993, and include the protection of the interests of users and the promotion of competition, efficiency and economy in the provision of railway services.

Public law obligations

Like other public authorities, ORR must comply with the rules of administrative law, and is amenable to judicial review, so it must act lawfully, rationally, proportionately and in accordance with the relevant rules of procedure. Although operationally independent of central government as a non-ministerial government department, it is still covered by legislation such as the Freedom of Information Act 2000.


The ORR is managed by a thirteen-member board which is appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport. Anna Walker succeeded Chris Bolt as chair of the Office of Rail Regulation on 5 July 2009 when Bolt's five-year term of office ended.[2] The chief executive officer is Richard Price, appointed in 2011.

The ORR employs approximately 280 people, with offices in Glasgow, York, Manchester, London, Birmingham and Bristol.

See also


External links

  • Official website
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