Document 11416090

• European standards - standards whose use is not
usually mandatory, although it may be required
by being referenced in a TSI or a RGS. In the
UK, ENs are published by the British Standards
Institute (BSI) and are prefixed by ‘BS EN’. ENs are
either standalone or harmonised with a European
Directive or a TSI. In this latter case, adoption of the
EN provides a presumption of conformity with the
Directive or the TSI.
There are also arrangements in place for deviating from
standards if their use is mandatory (a deviation is a
permission to do something different from the standard in
specific circumstances).
• Rail Industry Standards (RISs) – produced at the
request of industry where there are expected
to be benefits from different companies using a
common standard. They can be adopted by industry
members, usually as company standards. RISs
have two uses: as a standalone standard or as a
standard harmonised with an RGS. In both cases, an
organisation should make clear what parts of the RIS
it is adopting and how it is going to do this.
Further information
• Rail Industry Approved Codes of Practice (RACOPs)
– provide an industry approved method of meeting
requirements in an RGS. RACOPs will be replaced
by RISs or other suitable documents, as the need for
change arises.
• The BSI website (
• Rail Industry Guidance Note (GNs) – provide useful
information or recognised good practice. Many GNs
support the use of a particular RGS.
• Association of Train Operating Companies’ Approved
Codes of Practice, Guidance Notes and Good
Practice Guides – produced as recognised good
practice for use by railway undertakings, these
complement RGSs and cover both engineering and
operations subjects.
• Company standards – produced by each company for
its own needs.
Details of how to deviate from standards whose use is
mandatory are set out in other leaflets in this series,
relevant to the particular type of standard.
You can find more information on items mentioned in this
leaflet at:
• The RGS Online website (
• The RSSB website (
Tell me about...
Standards and
the rail industry
• In other leaflets in the ‘Tell me about …’ series on:
• Railway Group Standards
• Technical Specifications for Interoperability relating
to structural sub systems
• National Technical Rules for the GB Mainline Railway
• National Safety Rules for the GB Mainline Railway
• Changing Railway Group Standards
• Deviations from Railway Group Standards
• Withdrawing requirements from Railway Group
• Rail Industry Standards
• The Rule Book
• European standards
• Industry Committees dealing with standards
What if there’s a
better way of doing
It may be that a standard (or parts of it) is no longer
appropriate for industry as a whole. For example, there
may be a better way of doing something or changes
in technology may have made the standard obsolete.
Therefore, there are arrangements in place for changing
standards. Details of how to propose a change to
standards are set out in another leaflet in this series.
These and other leaflets are available on the RSSB
Any feedback on this leaflet? Please let us know at:
Issue No. 2 11/2014
Helping you with railway standards
• People in the rail industry who need to have a general
understanding about the purpose and types of
The leaflet may be helpful to:
• Organisations who are involved in providing support
(such as training) to the rail industry or who do
business with the rail industry (such as local authorities
or suppliers).
The GB mainline railway is the GB railway system excluding
trams, metros, and infrastructure and vehicles reserved for
local use, for tourism or to run a heritage railway. It also
excludes some specified networks such as High Speed 1.
Why does industry
need standards?
The aim of standards is to provide for the most costeffective, efficient and compatible means of rail system
delivery, whilst providing for a safe railway.
To meet this aim, standards define and record what has
to be done or how something needs to be done. This
avoids having to ‘re-invent the wheel’ each time the same
situation occurs.
There are three basic situations in which the industry uses
• When an appropriate authority has determined that
a standard must be complied with under specified
• When the industry needs a recognised method of
meeting a requirement that must be complied with –
that is, something whose use gives a ‘presumption of
conformity’ with that requirement.
• When the industry needs access to useful information
or recognised good practice.
A schematic showing the relationship between the scope
and force of standards is provided at the end of this
leaflet (Figure 1).
• The law – European (such as Commission decisions
and Commission regulations) and domestic (such as
regulations – a type of Statutory Instrument).
• Licence conditions – imposed through the licence
granted by the Office of Rail Regulation.
• Safety Management Systems and contracts – imposed
at company level.
What scope do
standards have?
The scope of application of a standard will be at one of
four levels:
• European level, such as Technical Specifications for
Interoperability (TSIs).
by law
Railway Group
Standards (RGS)
of conformity
Rail Industry
Approved Codes
of Practice
• National (or Network) level, such as Railway Group
Standards (RGSs).
• Company level.
Decisions and
including TSIs
Rail Industry
Standards (RIS)
SMS or
The leaflet may therefore be of interest to:
The requirement to comply with standards under
specified circumstances is given force by different means,
depending on the ‘appropriate authority’ that requires
compliance. These means are:
Drawing this together
This is an introductory leaflet about standards applicable
to the mainline railway in Great Britain (GB). Further
leaflets describe in greater detail many of the subjects
outlined in this leaflet.
How are standards
given force?
Legal Force
Standards (EN)
Standards (EN)
(not harmonised)
• Project level.
Producing standards at different levels means that detailed
requirements do not need to be imposed at high levels.
This gives the industry the ability to make decisions at the
right level. Generally speaking, requirements become
more specific the lower the level of standard.
For example, at national level, the standard will state what
needs to be achieved to deliver compatibility between rail
vehicles, the infrastructure and operating procedures. A
company will create its own standards that are compatible
with the national standards to define any further rules that
it wishes to apply to its activities.
RSSB has implemented a programme of work to
consolidate the content of company standards of
infrastructure managers (IMs), railway undertakings
(RUs) and entities in charge of maintenance (ECMs) into
requirements in Rail Industry Standards (RISs), where this
will support improvements in the cost-effectiveness and
efficiency of the industry.
Scope Of Standards
What kinds of
standard are there?
The principal types of standard used by the industry
include the following, but note that other types of
standards are also used:
• TSIs – European standards, whose use under
specified circumstances is required by law.
• RGSs – standards for the GB mainline railway, whose
use under specified circumstances is required by
licence conditions.