RISs benefit the industry by removing the need for companies to develop and maintain their own (company) standards in the areas covered by RISs. For the GB mainline operators and infrastructure managers, the Statement of National Regulatory Provisions (SNRP) and licences under the Railway Act 1993 require compliance with applicable RISs. If licence holders are unable to comply with a RIS, they may identify and use an equally effective alternative to achieve the purpose of the RIS, after consultation with those who are likely to be affected. 

This requirement to consider adoption of RISs is different to Railway Group Standards (RGSs).  RISs are not made compulsory by legislation in the same way as RGSs but they are still industry-agreed standards. RGSs are made compulsory as National Technical Rules (NTRs) via the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011 (as amended). If an organisation needs to do something different to an RGS as an NTR then it must apply to RSSB for a deviation. RISs should be given due consideration as part of a robust risk assessment approach to address the licence obligations and as Codes of Practice.  To understand how and why the licence conditions were updated to address RISs, click here

RISs are produced under governance arrangements approved by the Industry Standards Coordination Committee on behalf of the industry. These arrangements are set out in the Standards Manual.

Watch the video below to find out more.

Who can use a Rail Industry Standard?

Any industry member, whether or not they are an infrastructure manager or railway undertaking, can choose to adopt all or part of a RIS through company procedures or contract conditions.  The industry member should make clear what parts of the RIS it is adopting and how it is going to do this.

Industry members who have adopted a RIS may require their contractors to comply with it.  This may be achieved through contractual arrangements.

Where can I find if there is a Rail Industry Standard on the subject area I am interested in?

You can find RISs in the Standards catalogue section of this site. This is the definitive source of RISs. The website shows all amendments and clarifications for RISs as well as supporting documents such as briefing notes. Withdrawn or superseded RISs are also available.

You might also find the Standards Catalogue useful.  This contains a list of all current RISs and any amendments and clarifications to current RISs. The catalogue is updated and published quarterly by RSSB.

If you need hard copies of a RIS or the catalogue, you can order them directly from the printers, Willsons.

What if I would like to do something different to the Rail Industry Standard?

If you would like to do something different to what is in a RIS, we strongly encourage that you first ask the responsible Standards Committee to provide comments and observations on the suitability of the alternative requirement you would like to use. Find advice and guidance on using alternative requirements.

The benefits of contacting the Standards Committee are that the comments and observations from your peers can be used by you to support your assurance work and you are also sharing best practice and thereby improving the quality of industry standards.

RISs are industry's standards, managed by industry. Decisions on RISs – such as the need for a RIS and the approval of its content – are made by standards committees, which are made up of industry representatives. Industry is consulted on all draft RISs before they are approved and published.

The Standards Committee may, as a result of your question, decide to update the RIS to include your proposed option.  They will need to be convinced that there is a commitment from a group of industry members to work to the revised RIS and that the RIS will actually be used.