ORR was established in 2004 by the Railways & Transport Safety Act 2003. As the UK railway industry’s economic regulator, ORR’s principal function is to regulate Network Rail’s stewardship of the national network. ORR also licenses operators of railway assets, approves agreements for access by operators to track, stations and light maintenance depots, and enforces domestic competition law. In 2006, ORR assumed additional responsibilities as safety regulator, succeeding the Health & Safety Executive in this role. ORR’s chairman has also been appointed International Rail Regulator (IRR), a statutory office separate from that of the ORR. IRR licenses operation of certain international rail services in the European Economic Area, and access to rail infrastructure in Great Britain for the purpose of the operation of such services. Formerly the Office of Rail Regulation, it was renamed following the Transport Act of February 2015 which brought oversight of national road network management alongside rail.

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