The purpose and function of the ADRC

The Access Dispute Resolution Committee (ADRC) was set up in 1994 pursuant to a multilateral contractual document known as the Railtrack Track Access Conditions for the purpose of hearing and resolving disputes between parties in the Railway Industry. Note that since 15 April 2005 disputes are now handled by the Access Dispute Committee.

Disputes arise on a range of matters that can be categorised under one of the following:

  1. Interpretation of contractual terms of a bi-lateral agreement held between a Train Operating Company and Network Rail, or between two Train Operators, or certain other agreements where the parties have agreed that disputes will be referred for resolution to the Committee.

  2. Disputes arising from the terms and processes laid down in one of the following:

    1. The Track Access Conditions;

    2. The Station Access Conditions (or Independent Station Access Conditions in the case of one of the Network Rail major stations); or

    3. The Depot Access Conditions.

An agreement between industry parties can be in the form of a track access agreement, a station access agreement, or a depot access agreement. The agreement itself normally specifies the options and mechanisms for resolving disputes.

It should be noted that the full menu of options and procedures for dispute resolution is set out in the Access Dispute Resolution Rules, which is the annex to the Railtrack Track Access Conditions.

Until 15 April 2005 there were also two standing sub-committees named the Timetabling Sub-Committee and the Network and Vehicle Change Sub-Committee.

Composition of the Committee and sub-Committees

The composition of the various bodies was as specified in the Access Dispute Resolution Rules applicable for the period 1994 until 15.4.2005.

The Access Dispute Resolution Committee had eight members, i.e. one member representing each Band or Class (as defined in Part C of the Network Code), and two representing Network Rail;

Similarly, the two Sub-Committees, the Timetabling Committee and Network and Vehicle Change Committee each had eight members, one member elected by each Band/Class, plus a further two appointed by Network Rail.

Each member was entitled to appoint an alternate from the same Band/Class who was thus able to attend a meeting of that Committee in place of the elected member.

Locus of the Committee and Sub-Committees

The ADRC heard disputes coming out of the terms of a bilateral agreement between two parties, or of the multilateral Track Access Conditions, Station Access Conditions or Depot Access Conditions where appropriate, except those cases prescribed in the Network Code to be heard by Timetabling Committee or Network and Vehicle Change Committee; see the two paragraphs below.

The Timetabling Committee heard disputes arising out of Part D of the Track Access Conditions, or Condition H11.9(a), except for those issues prescribed to go to the Network and Vehicle Change Committee as shown in below.

The Network and Vehicle Change Committee heard disputes arising out of Parts F and G of the Track Access Conditions (Network Code) and additionally matters arising out of Condition D2.2. (Condition D2.2.5 specified that a dispute arising out of Condition D2.2 should be referred to the Network and Vehicle Change Committee, and not the Timetabling Committee).

Alternative options for dispute resolution

The procedure for resolution of some types of dispute was prescribed either directly in the terms of an access agreement, or in one of the access conditions for resolution by mediation, arbitration or expert determination made in accordance with the Access Dispute Resolution Rules. Industry parties concerned contacted the Disputes Secretary (who also happened to be the Committee Secretary of the ADRC). Decisions made by an arbitrator or an expert were not necessarily made public, but, in those cases where the parties agreed that they should be, they remain displayed on the website in a similar way to decisions by one of the Committees.

The references to (and Determinations of) the Committee and sub-committees can be found here: ADRC; Timetabling; Network and Vehicle Change.