Skip to main content

Skip to main content


Browse the A-Z below for some rail-specific terms that are used in this website, together with their meanings.

Choose a letter below:




Association of Community Rail Partnerships


Access charge supplement


Access dispute resolution rules: Rules which govern the handling of rail disputes arising from matters covered by the Network Code.


The term 'alliances' is currently being used to describe a wide range of different relationships from project-based partnerships through to potentially long-term and comprehensive commercial arrangements covering a wide range of activities carried out by Network Rail routes and train operators. The common factor is that Network Rail and a train operator reach agreement to work together more closely and share the benefits of doing so, within the framework of their existing individual accountabilities and responsibilities. As currently being discussed, alliances do not involve the creation of new legal entities such as formal joint ventures.

Asset management/assets

Network Rail is required, as a railway licence holder, to develop and apply the policies and criteria it will apply in respect of the maintenance, renewal, replacement, improvement, enhancement and development of the relevant railway assets, and make appropriate information about those policies and criteria readily accessible to persons providing services relating to railways and funders.

The company is also required to maintain appropriate, accurate and readily accessible information about the relevant assets, including their condition, capability and capacity.

Effective asset management supports the delivery of this promise by planning, delivering and making available an infrastructure that supports the current and future timetable safely, efficiently and sustainably.

Railway assets include: tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations.


The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) is an incorporated association owned by its members. It was set up by the train operating companies, formed during privatisation of the railways under the Railways Act 1993.

As well as being the official voice of the passenger rail industry, it also provides its members with a range of services that enable them to comply with conditions laid on them in their franchise agreements and operating licences. These include the National Rail Enquiry Service (NRES) and Railcard marketing.  

ATOC's principal activities include assisting members to co-operate on developing and managing projects that benefit passengers and to promote the advantages of the rail network.


Automatic train protection.


Automatic warning system

Axle counter caused-delays

An axle counter is a track mounted device that accurately counts passing axles. When these devices fail, it has the impact of causing delays to trains.