How industry agree standards

This page explains the roles of the GB rail industry committees that manage the standards and related guidance produced by RSSB on behalf of the industry – Railway Group Standards (RGSs), Rail Industry Standards (RISs) and Rail Industry Guidance Notes (GNs).

Why do we have industry committees for standards?

The authority for making decisions about standards rests with the rail industry and enables the industry to 'own' its standards. Establishing cross-industry committees provides a mechanism for the industry to decide on the development and content of standards. These committees take decisions that ensure standards support the business objectives of the industry in a cost-effective manner, without duplication or unnecessary expenditure by the industry.

Who are members of the committees?

Industry committees dealing with standards – the Industry Standards Co-ordination Committee (ISCC) and Standards Committees (SCs) – are made up of representatives from each of the following industry categories:

  • Railway undertakings – passenger
  • Railway undertakings – freight and other non-passenger train operators
  • Network Rail and other infrastructure managers
  • Rolling stock owners (including rolling stock leasing companies)
  • Infrastructure contractors
  • Suppliers (including rolling stock manufacturers)

Committee members are appointed or elected by the companies within each category

All the committees’ decisions are made by consensus. The decisions are taken on the basis that they promote the long-term best interests of the mainline railway.

Role of the Industry Standards Co-ordination Committee

The role of the ISCC includes overseeing the work of the standards committees, providing direction, advice, and guidance on:

  • The management and effectiveness of standards for the mainline railway
  • European standards issues relevant to the mainline railway
  • Strategic and legal issues relating to standards

The committee also provides advice to the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail Regulation on the role of the requirements in RGSs as National Technical Rules or
National Safety Rules, and the implications of these roles for the management of the mainline railway.

ISCC has produced a strategic plan.

Role of Standards Committees

The SCs take decisions on proposals to change standards, deviations from RGSs and European standards issues.

There are six SCs that deal with the specialist technical and operational areas of standards. The SCs are:

  • Control, Command and Signalling (including communications systems)
  • Energy (covering electrification systems)
  • Infrastructure (covering track, structures, and stations)
  • Rolling Stock
  • Traffic Operation and Management
  • Plant

Each SC has produced a strategic plan, which you can find from its web page.

SC members can provide advice on standards-related issues. For example, an applicant for a deviation may find it helpful to seek advice from the member representing the relevant industry category on the content of the application before it is submitted formally to the SC.

Standards Committees and System Interface Committees

SCs work closely with System Interface Committees (SICs). The SICs assist the railway industry in managing system interfaces in an effective, safe and cost-efficient way. The work of SICs may result in a proposal to create a new RGS or modify an existing one. Such proposals are then taken forward by SCs.

Each SIC has its own page on this website. You can find these through the Groups and Committees page.

Industry representatives

You can find the names of industry representatives for ISCC and the standards committees on the individual committee pages in the Groups and Committees section. 

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Vaibhav Puri
Tel: 020 3142 5446
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