The Rule Book is available as an app on Android and Apple, and through internet browsers, and you can also order printed copies.

The Rule Book is held by over 100,000 people, and as such is probably the best known and most widely distributed in the entire RSSB catalogue. Even greater numbers of people are known to use it as a reference and information document both from the United Kingdom and abroad using the online version. It also generates by far the greatest number of queries via our customer self-service portal.

RSSB's Operations team

In addition to maintaining the Rule Book and other National Operations Publications, the Operations team provides advice and support on a wide range of subjects concerning the practicalities, logistics and ‘people’ aspects of railway operations. To this end they work very closely with our colleagues in the Human Factors team. The Operations team has also developed strong links with engineering disciplines both within RSSB, within the wider GB rail industry, and in Europe as part of its commitment to various EU-based rail organisations.

National Operations Publications

The National Operations Publications comprise:

The Rule Book

The Rule Book is a vital safety document.  It comprises a set of modules and handbooks which contain direct instructions for railway staff.  It sets out the operational rules for application on the GB mainline railway, which are necessary to enable the safe and timely delivery of people and goods to their destination and to provide the framework to enable safe engineering operations.

You can see which modules and handbooks are relevant to specific roles on the railway in the Rule Book module matrix.  This matrix lists the Rule Book modules, handbooks and information handbooks that should be issued to a person who is competent to carry out the duties of the job title or role shown in the list.

Modules, handbooks and information handbooks

A Rule Book module contains a set of instructions for front line operating personnel such as drivers, signallers and shunters.  These would apply across the main line network and manage safety across the interface between train operators and the infrastructure manager.

A Rule Book handbook contains a set of instructions that are carried out by other personnel holding a particular competency in relation to staff protection, engineering activity or operation of equipment.

An information handbook does not contain rules to directly manage safety of operations.  Instead these contain background information on the topic covered, including instructions on the general operation of any equipment dealt with. Associated with the Rule Book are a number of Information Handbooks on:

Rule Book forms

Examples of the various operational forms which are used in relation to the Rule Book are listed in the current Rule Book Modules.

The operational concept for the GB main line railway

The scope of the Rule Book is aligned with the Fundamental Operating Principles as laid out in
RSSB-GBMR-OC Operational Concept for the GB Mainline Railway.  This document provides a link between nine fundamental operating principles and the rules and instructions in the Rule Book and Working Manual for Rail Staff.  It indicates whether rules and instructions are defined for traffic operation and management on the main line railway, and the warning and protection arrangements for people who have to work on or near the line.  It therefore provides a means of deciding whether a proposed method of operation would require a change to those rules and instructions, or whether the change is to internal company instructions or competence management systems.

Changes to the Rule Book

The Rule Book is managed by industry; RSSB facilitates its maintenance, design, and publication.  Changes to the Rule Book are set out in the Periodical Operating Notice, published every 3 months by Network Rail, which is available to train operators.

Any proposed changes to the Rule Book, which are going to industry consultation are listed under Forthcoming consultations.  The Consultation and Stakeholder Register lists documents currently open for consultation.

How to get the Rule Book

The best way of accessing the Rule Book is through the app available on Android, Apple, and via internet browsers.

You can also download copies of the Rule Book modules, Handbooks and Information Handbooks in PDF from the Standards catalogue.

If you need hard copies of National Operational Publications, including the Rule Book, you can order them directly from - Willsons.