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National Technical Rules

​​​​​​​​​​​​National Technical Rules (NTRs) are those rules (standards) which the Interoperability Directive require each Member State to notify in the absence of a Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSI).

"In the absence of" includes situations where a TSI has not been written yet, where it contains an identified open point or where a deviation from a TSI has been notified. NTRs provide additional controls to ensure that the essential requirements specified in the Interoperability Directives are met.

NTRs are not permitted to supplement the TSIs on performance related issues or repeat requirements mandated by the TSIs.

NTRs also support specific cases in TSIs and set out requirements to maintain technical compatibility between existing assets that do not conform to the requirements of TSIs and new, upgraded or renewed assets conforming to TSIs.

The industry process to be used for identifying and managing NTRs for the GB mainline railway is set out in the Railway Group Sta​ndards Code External link.

Notification of NTRs

RSSB is responsible, on behalf of the industry, for proposing to the Department for Transport (DfT) those industry standards that should be notified against each of the TSIs for use on the GB mainline railway. The DfT may need to notify additional requirements to ensure the notified NTRs address all of the essential requirements.

RSSB provides the DfT with lists of requirements from RGSs which the industry proposes should be notified as NTRs for each of the TSIs, either published or under development. The NTRs provided by RSSB are intended for use by project entities on the GB mainline railway, as defined in the Railway (Interoperability) Regulations 2011 External link.

The DfT publishes the NTRs and project-specific technical rules that it has notified to the European Commission for use in Great Britain. These notified rules are available from the
DfT website External link.

The lists of NTRs and related documents will be subject to periodic review in response to changes in the status of the TSIs, the closing out of open points in the TSIs and as GB standards are developed or withdrawn. Updated lists of the proposed NTRs will be provided to the DfT every three months, to align with the publication of the RGS C​ata​logue External link.

Appli​cation of notified NTRs for rail vehicle authorisation

The ORR has provided guidance​ to help clarify how notified National Technical R​ules (NNTRs) should be applied to rail vehicle projects.  This is useful as the latest versions of TSIs and NNTRs could change during the lifetime of a typical rail vehicle project.

Essentially, projects should use the relevant notified National Technical Rules based on the applicable TSIs at the time of appointment of the Notified Body (NoBo), (the entity which assesses whether the product to be placed on the market meets appropriate standards).

Reference Document Database and authorisation of rail vehicles

The Reference Document Database (RDD) External link is intended to provide access to each Member States' national rules relevant to the authorisation of rail vehicles, their equivalence and the National Legal Frameworks applied in the Member States of the European Union plus Norway and Switzerland. The RDD supports the principle of mutual recognition of national rules, the checks against these rules and the associated authorisations to place into service (often referred to as 'cross acceptance').

The fully populated, complete RDD for the UK is expected to be available on the ERA's website in October 2013. In the meantime, the spreadsheet below gives a list of RGSs that meet the criteria for NTRs relevant to the authorisation of rail vehicles on the GB mainline railway system, and therefore which could be included in the RDD. 

The spreadsheet has no formal or legal status, but is provided to assist the GB rail industry in identifying relevant RGSs. The spreadsheet contains two sheets: one sorted by RDD parameter and one sorted by TSI clause.

Spreadsheet of NTRs relevant to the authorisation of rail vehicles

Spreadsheet of NTRs relevant to the authorisation of rail vehicles

Open points in TSIs not closed out by RGSs

For some TSIs, there are open points where the GB mainline railway does not yet have a RGS to address the issue. 

Where there is an open point which is not closed out by a RGS, the DfT requires each project entity that is doing work on the mainline railway to propose how it is going to address any such open points relevant to its project. Project entities may seek observations and comments from the relevant Standards Committee(s) on the proposed way forward in accordance with 13.3 of the Standards Manual Issue Three by using theapplication form.  

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

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