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National Safety Rules

​​​​​The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (as amended) External link requires the safety management systems of infrastructure managers and railway undertakings on the mainline railway to be "established to ensure that the mainline railway system ... is in conformity with relevant national safety rules and relevant safety requirements laid down in TSIs" [Regulation 5(1)(a)].

What are NSRs?

National Safety Rules (NSRs) are required by the Railway Safety Directive External link
(Directive 2004/49/EC). They are defined as "rules containing railway safety requirements imposed at Member State level and applicable to more than one railway undertaking, irrespective of the body issuing them".

NSRs supplement the Common Safety Methods that have been produced in accordance with Directive 2004/49/EC, and the Operation and Traffic Management Technical Specifications for Interoperability (OPE TSIs) where these are insufficient.

What do NSRs cover?

The majority of NSRs for the GB mainline railway are requirements contained in Railway Group Standards (RGSs).

The NSRs in RGSs cover:

  • 'National safety methods', specifically rules for assessing technical compatibility between rail vehicles and the infrastructure at route level: GE/RT8270, Assessment of Compatibility of Rolling Stock and Infrastructure, and related RGSs, for example GE/RT8006.
  • Common operating rules of the GB mainline railway system, for example GE/RT8046 Spoken Safety Communications.
  • Additional internal operating rules (company rules) that must be established by infrastructure managers and railway undertakings, for example GO/RT3437, Defective On-Train Equipment and GE/RT8047, Reporting of Safety Related Information.
  • Rules concerning requirements on selection criteria and medical fitness of staff undertaking safety critical tasks, for example GO/RT3451, Train Movement - Staff Suitability and Fitness Requirements
  • Rules concerning the investigation of accidents and incidents, for example GO​/RT3119, Accident and Incident Investigation.

Copies of all RGSs can be found ​in the Standards Catalogue.

Notification of NSRs

The Railway Safety Directive External link (Directive 2004/49/EC) requires member states to notify NSRs to the European Commission (EC). The current situation regarding the notification of NSRs can be found on the ORR's website External link.

RSSB advises the ORR about which requirements in RGSs meet the definition of a NSR, so they can be notified in accordance with Directive 2004/49/EC.

Further information

You can find further information on items mentioned in this page:

Please contact Vaibhav Puri on 020 3142 5446 if you require further information regarding NSRs.

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