Heavy rail fleets: 2020 targeted accessibility compliance

Documents outlining aspects of particular heavy rail fleet units which must be made more accessible by the legal deadline of 1 January 2020.

By 1 January 2020 all passenger rail vehicles must be accessible. These assessments of heavy rail fleet units will help industry to focus on improving vehicle features that adversely affect disabled people and older passengers.

The targeted compliance matrices show the Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) views of:

  • areas on the units which are already compliant with either the Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non-Interoperable Rail System) Regulations 2010 (RVAR) and/or the Technical Specification for Interoperability - Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM TSI) - shown in green
  • non-compliant areas of the unit which are not expected to be corrected unless a new solution is found - shown in yellow
  • areas where improvements to accessibility need to be made these vehicles to operate beyond 31 December 2019 - shown in red
  • areas where compliance is required and rectification work was already planned at the time of the assessment - shown in green and red check)
  • areas where some degree of non-compliance will be permitted but further improvement on the current state is required - shown in yellow and red check
  • areas where some compliance has already been achieved but more is expected - shown in blue and red check

The matrices are also for the use of train operating companies and franchise bidders. Each one shows what is expected to be delivered overall on a unit in service.

Each matrix shows the level of compliance of that particular unit on the day of assessment. As work is undertaken to improve units, owners should create updated versions of the matrices to record progress. Owners should discuss whether there is a need to publish updates to these matrices with the department.

Exemptions to the rail vehicle accessibility regulations

Rail passenger vehicles used on the trans-European rail system in the UK after 31 December 2019 must comply with certain standards. Regulation 45 of the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011 (RIR 2011) specifies that these vehicles must comply with current or future versions of the PRM TSI and/or domestic standards eg RVAR.

The exceptions to this are where:

The main way of allowing fleets to operate past 2019 without full compliance is for DfT to grant dispensation under Regulation 46 of RIR 2011. A number of dispensations have already been granted. In the minority of cases, where the scale of any refurbishment warrants authorisation under RIR 2011, then a derogation or determination may be provided instead.

For further information, contact

Time limited dispensations

All owners

Andrew Brodie engineering

Angel Trains

Beacon Rail Leasing Ltd


Eversholt Rail Group

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited

HST and Mk3s

London Midland


Post 1998 fleets


Published 6 June 2013
Last updated 28 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated Time limited dispensations section.

  2. Eversholt classes of 465 derogation letters and compliance report.

  3. Angel Class 150, Eversholt Class 321 and Class 322 compliance assessment and dispensation letters published.

  4. First published.