Getting the Fight Train on the Right Track

Gary Taylor, Senior Executive, Interoperability and Standards at UK’s Office of Rail and Road ( ORR) speaks on rolling stock authorisation process.

Visiting a new station for the first time or travelling on a shiny, new train, it is easy to forget that it will have taken many skilled people years of work to have that new piece of kit in place. One of the Office of Rail and Road’s (ORR) roles in this process is to provide the final piece of the jigsaw – the authorisation to put the finished product into service.

In the last business year, the ORR authorised 38 new pieces of railway infrastructure or rolling stock. In the majority of cases the people running these projects first contact us years in advance to discuss the best way to achieve authorisation when the building is complete. We encourage this approach as it gives us the opportunity to understand their knowledge and advise them of what standards and specifications apply and how we can work with them to get up and running as quickly as possible.

Once this initial discussion is complete, we usually stay in touch throughout the project attending meetings and answering any queries. Once all the paperwork and certificates have been collated by the project, we will receive a final complete version of the technical file.

Once we have the complete submission one of our engineers begins the assessment process. We set aside four weeks for this review to allow for a thorough assessment and for any queries to be addressed. When our engineer is content with the evidence, they will recommend authorisation for the placing into service. However, we may include conditions that must be met within a defined timescale ahead of being put into use. ORR then monitors the compliance of the conditions.

A simple process, but we recognise that every project is different and we work hard to help each one through with good engagement and, as intend to keep talking and keep working towards another productive 12 months.

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