Interoperability and Standards

Interoperability is a European initiative aimed at improving the competitive position of the rail sector so that it can compete effectively with other transport modes, and in particular with road transport.

The Government expects interoperability to benefit the UK by

  • Delivering economies of scale in the cost of components and equipment through the single market;
  • Providing a consistent and simple pan-European approvals system for putting railway assets into service; and
  • Reducing, to the extent that it will be possible for the UK, the barriers to the through operation of trains throughout Europe.

These webpages contain general information and generic advice about interoperability and its implementation in the UK, for the benefit of the rail industry and anyone with an interest in the development of rail transport in the UK. While we try to provide correct information here, we ask you to recognise that it is too condensed to be regarded as the legal authority on interoperability.

Listed below are the pages in the Interoperability site including an outline of their contents:

Interoperability News Flash

Latest news about interoperability - what rail industry project teams and Notified Bodies (NoBos) need to know.

Beginners' guide to interoperability

Answering the very simplest question that can be asked about interoperability - What does it mean?

10 April 2008

Transposition of the Interoperability Directive

Dft’s project to bring the Interoperability (recast) Directive 2008/57/EC into UK law.

UK scope of interoperability

The Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2006 only apply to the UK parts of the Trans European Network (TEN). This page explains, and provides maps of, the TEN.

Guidance and FAQs

Our frequently answered questions deal with a range of common queries, and we are always glad to receive suggestions for new questions which users would like us to answer.


Overview of the legal framework for interoperability, and links to view and download copies of the Directives and Regulations, and associated railway safety legislation.

10 April 2008

Common technical standards

Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs), which apply to all European Member States, are being prepared progressively by the European Railway Agency. These are supplemented as necessary by UK-specific Notified National Technical Rules (NNTRs).

Subsystem authorisation process

Very brief outline of the obligations on the Contracting Entity, the requirement for authorisation and the process for obtaining it.

Registers and databases

Collection and management of information will be key to the achievement of interoperability. Outline of the key requirements on owners, keepers and operators of authorised infrastructure and rolling stock.

10 April 2008

UK implementation and progress

How, and how quickly, is interoperability being rolled out in the UK (including links to UK implementation plans).

The basic principles of interoperability

The Regulations implement the two principal elements of the rail interoperability process, as defined in the Directives.

10 April 2008

Who's who in interoperability

Contact information for, and summary of responsibilities of, the essential bodies in rail interoperability.

10 April 2008

The Interoperability Team

The role of the interoperability team including contact details.

10 April 2008

For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.