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What are Railway Group Standards?

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A Railway Group Standard (RGS) is a standard that defines what must be done to achieve technical compatibility on the GB mainline network. RGSs set out technical requirements applicable to vehicles or the infrastructure, or processes applicable to transport operators.

Access the definitive source of RGSs from the Standards catalogue.

Who must comply with Railway Group Standards?

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) currently requires infrastructure managers (including Network Rail) and railway undertakings (passenger and freight) operating on the GB mainline network to comply with RGSs. This requirement is set out in the company's licence to operate or its Statement of National Regulatory Provisions External link (SNRP), issued by the ORR.

RGSs set out National Technical Rules (NTRs) and National Safety Rules (NSRs) for the GB mainline railway. Compliance with NTRs and NSRs is required under the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011 External link and the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (as amended) External link.  As a consequence of this legislation, project entities must comply with NTRs set out in RGSs.

​Within the European standards system, RGSs have a number of roles. You can find more about these roles on the RGS within the European standards system page.

RGSs are supported by Rail Industry Guidance Notes and by Rail Industry Approved Codes of Practice (RACOPs).

Who creates Railway Group Standards?

RGSs are industry’s standards, managed by industry. Standards committees hav​e been established to make decisions on RGSs – such as the need for an RGS and the approval of its content. Because these are industry’s standards, standards committees are made up of industry representatives. Industry is consulted on all draft RGSs before they are approved and published.

Find out more about groups and committees.

RGSs are produced in accordance with the arrangements approved by the ORR and set out in the RGS Code External link and the Standards Manual External link. The RGS Code and Standards Manual also describe the industry procedures for changing RGSs and how to obtain a deviation from an RGS.

How can an RGS be changed?

If a requirement(s) in an RGS is no longer reasonably practicable as a result of, for example, changing technology or commercial needs, you may submit a proposal for change.  

If you have a situation where you will be unable to comply with an RGS in a specific location, or because of a piece of equipment that you need to use, you can apply for a deviation. A deviation, which is permission to comply with a specified alternative to a requirement in an RGS, may be issued with a time limit or may not have an expiry date.

Publishing Railway Groups Standards

If you need hard copies of a RGS or the catalogue, you can order them directly from the printers, Willsons External link

You can now access RGSs from the Standards catalogue. This is the definitive source of RGSs. This area of the site shows all amendments and clarifications for RGSs as well as supporting documents such as briefing notes. Withdrawn or superseded RGSs are also available.

Copyright in RGSs is owned by Rail Safety and Standards Board Limited. All rights are reserved. No RGS (in whole or in part) may b​e reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or means, without the prior written permission of Rail Safety and Standards Board Limited, or as expressly permitted by law. However, RSSB members are granted copyright licence in accordance with RSSB's Constitution Agreement.

If you have a query about an RGS please contact the RSSB enquiry desk on 020 3142 5400.

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