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We regulate the rail system alongside rail participants. A rail participant is a person or organisation that provides a rail vehicle, operates it, or controls the use of a railway line.

Our role is to ensure organisations involved in rail activity meet their safety duties and obligations, and that risks are managed. We do this by licencing rail participants and approving their safety cases, monitoring rail participants, investigating incidents and crashes, and maintaining oversight of major risks in the rail system.

Regulated parties

  • Licence-holders: organisations that operate trains and provide the track network, including metro passenger services, long distance passenger services, freight carriers, heritage trains, tourist activities and industrial sites
  • Track infrastructure: 5,000km of track and associated assets
  • Passengers: 35 million in 2017/18 and 55 million expected by 2024
  • Freight: 16 million tonnes of goods moved in 2017/18
  • Rail workers: 10,000 staff and volunteers working on trains and the tracks.

Read more about our role in rail safety