The Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) requires that a rail transport operator (RTO) must apply for and be granted accreditation by ONRSR before commencing railway operations.


It is ONRSR’s task to exercise powers under the RSNL to grant, with or without conditions, accreditation to a person or organisation (i.e. a rail transport operator, having the role of one or both of a rail infrastructure manager or rolling stock operator, as defined by the RSNL) that can demonstrate it has the competence and capacity to manage safety risks associated with its railway operations.

For legal requirements surrounding accreditation refer the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) and Rail Safety National Law National Regulations 2012.

Refer to the ONRSR Fees Policy for information regarding fees attached to the accreditation scheme .

A Rail Infrastructure Manager (RIM) of a private siding that is connected to or has access to a railway operated by an accredited Rail Transport Operator (RTO) does not need to apply for accreditation but, rather, must apply for registration in relation to that siding. A person may be a registered RIM for multiple private sidings under their registration.

An accredited Rail Infrastructure Manager (RIM) may have a private siding(s) as part of its total accredited railway operations, in which case, registration is not required.

More information is available on the Registration page.

While ONRSR does not have a strict definition of a major project, they will typically involve a significant technical or operational change, particularly involving novel or innovative approaches, the introduction of new rolling stock or railway infrastructure or will be associated with high level of complexity due to intricate, multi-party organisational or contractual structures.

If the intended railway operations fall into these definitions then early engagement with ONRSR, well ahead of any formal application considerations, is encouraged to determine whether they require an application for accreditation or variation to accreditation.

The ONRSR Major Project Guideline provides further guidance setting out the expectations on operators for planning, management and safety assurance of such projects and accreditation or variation requirements.

How to apply

An RTO intending to seek accreditation is encouraged to first contact ONRSR to discuss requirements using the Initiate Interest to Apply for Accreditation Form. An ONRSR representative will be in touch to discuss the nature and scope of operations within three (3) business days of submission of the form.

Following that discussion and confirmation of the intended railway operations an application form will be provided to formally start the process.


ONRSR is required to decide to grant or refuse an application within six months of receipt and uses its best endeavours to work with applicants' operational timeframes. However, if the scope and complexity of the applicant’s railway operations and the completeness and quality of the documentation provided cause unanticipated delays, it may result in the timeframe for the decision to grant or refuse an application being formally re-set.

On completion of the assessment process, accreditation is granted through the issue of a notice of accreditation, which sets out the scope of operations for which the operator is accredited.

It is important to note that granting of accreditation does not mean ONRSR has approved or endorsed an organisation’s safety management system, specific technology or methods of operation. These are subject to ongoing oversight through regulatory activities.

Last updated: Oct 12, 2021, 9:58:10 AM