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Access and market regulation

We are responsible for licensing the companies that operate Britain’s trains, stations, light maintenance depots and networks. These operators must hold a licence, or be exempted from doing so by us.

If you are a prospective train operator, or are new to the rail industry, we have produced a useful document which summarises our regulatory requirements called Starting mainline rail operations: a guide to the regulatory framework (PDF PDF 832 Kb).

If you want to know more about what we do under current rail industry legislation, please see our statutory functions and duties section. For individual train driver licences please see Train driving licences and certificates page.

Access regulation

This section explains how we allow train operating companies access to Britain’s railway facilities.

Operator licensing

This section explains the licensing regime for operators of railway assets.

Competition and consumer issues

This section explains our competition law powers.

Sustainable development

This section explains our policy for delivering our sustainable development and environmental duties.


This section explains our role in promoting investment in the enhancement of the railways.


This section sets out our role in the process to allow the closure of passenger services, networks and stations.

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