The Department for Transport (DfT) works with the railway industry to ensure the rail network is safe, efficient and sustainable. Interoperability is a European initiative enabling the railway to compete more effectively with other forms of transport, particularly road transport. It can contribute to reducing costs and provide safe and uninterrupted movement of trains across Europe. It does this through establishing common checking and authorisation processes.
For updates and more information about interoperability and safety, DfT operates an email news flash service. To subscribe, please email firstname.lastname@example.org adding “News Flash” in the subject area.
National Vehicle Register
Under regulation 36 of RIR 2011 there are a number of requirements for a National Vehicle Register and the registration of vehicles. This register is currently managed by Network Rail as the designated registration entity. These requirements relate to the assignment of a European vehicle number and the marking of vehicles. New vehicles that are authorised to be placed into service must be recorded in the register. The register also records details of existing vehicles. More information about the NVR is available at the following:
A post implementation review of the 2011 Regulations was carried out in 2016.
Our ‘Approved list of exclusions from the scope of the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011’ features information on railway networks, lines and vehicles specifically excluded from the interoperability regulations.
Our ‘Help notes’ offer guidance on deciding whether a project is covered by the interoperability regulations. They provide advice about obtaining an authorisation or a derogation under the regulations.
Technical specifications for interoperability (TSIs)
The following pages include information about technical specifications for interoperability (TSIs). These are common, harmonised standards agreed with Europe, defining how components must be built, and compliance assessed and verified, to ensure the interoperability of the rail system. New or upgraded projects in the UK are required to comply with the relevant TSIs.
Common technical standards: notified national technical rules (NNTRs)
NNTRs can perform a number of functions, such as:
making a provision to deal with specific cases for particular circumstances prevailing in a member state
filling in where gaps have been identified in TSIs
setting requirements to maintain technical compatibility with existing assets that do not conform to the requirements of TSIs
They are notified to the European Commission by each EU member state and the Department for Transport has responsibility for notifying rules for the United Kingdom that are recommended by industry.
This is the latest list of the UK’s notified national technical rules for infrastructure and vehicles. The reference document database entry for Great Britain, which lists the rules relevant to obtaining vehicle authorisations categorised by various parameters, is available on the European Union Agency for Railways website. Please select “UK GB” for the national reference document (NRD).
Contacts for other organisations’ NNTRs
These contacts can supply a list of rules outside of Great Britain mainline that are under development for future notification as NNTRs:
Common technical standards: notified bodies and designated bodies
Notified bodies (NoBos) and designated bodies (DeBos) are independent bodies appointed by DfT. They are assessed as meeting certain criteria, including competence, independence and integrity under the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011.
An important element of the strategy for rail interoperability is to create realistic and deliverable long-term implementation plans for each technical specification for interoperability (TSI). The plans will be essential to:
understand and set out the business case for migration towards the widespread use of rail interoperability
strategically plan for the development of the future rail network