Guidance and information

Guidance and information

For everyone

The Heritage Railway Association produces a huge suite of guidance notes, information papers and documents for members. The HRA has also agreed to host two documents that originated with the Office of Rail and Road and make these publically available. These are 'Guidance on Minor Railways' (sometimes referred to as RSP5), and 'Level Crossings: A guide for managers, designers and operators' (RSP7).

Guidance on Minor Railways is in the process of being updated by a partnership of the HRA and ORR. As such some of the references and links may be dated, however it is still a highly valuable document for anyone operating a heritage railway.


Guidance on Minor Railways


Level Crossings: A guide for managers, designers and operators 


For members

The Heritage Railway Association provides members with a significant quantity of guidance and information specifically relevant to heritage railways in the UK. This is not intended to be a totally comprehensive list, however it is intended to provide non-members a flavour of the guidance and information available.

All of this, and more, is provided free of charge to HRA members. Most of the documents may also be made available to others on request. Please note that a fee will be charged for non-members.

HRA members log-in


Joining the HRA


Boilers and steam locomotives

Preparation, operation and disposal of steam locomotives


Boiler stays


Boiler mountings, pipework and fittings

Fusible plugs

Washout plugs

Safety valves


Inner firebox repair and renewal

Steel rivets and riveting

Welding procedures and processes

Patch screws


Steam heating apparatus

Boiler water treatment

Washout and examination

Materials and non-destructive testing

Quality assurance

Written schemes of examination

Tubing of boilers

Mudhole doors

Frost and corrosion protection



Social media guidance

VAT and Gift Aid

Energy brokers

Planning and permitted development

Visitor economy information

Environmental policies


Carriage and wagon

Air brake systems

Overhaul of vacuum cylinders

Overhaul of vacuum equipment on Mk 1 and Mk 2 carriages

Overhaul of bodyside swing doors

Repair of Mk 2 and Mk 3 outward opening doors and striking plate fixings

Overhaul of B4 and B5 bogies

Braking system maintenance

Overhaul of door locks

Door lock testing



Permanent way planning, inspection and maintenance

Inspection and maintenance of civil engineering assets

Control of vegetation

Funding for training 

On Track Plant

Working at height

Fitness to Run examinations

Workshop health and safety guidance


Equality and Diversity

Equality, diversity and inclusivity in heritage rail

Making disabled people welcome in your organisation

How to make your marketing more accessible and inclusive

How to understand your audiences

Introduction to autism

The Equality Act and you

Inclusive language guide

Inclusive recruitment

Bullying and harassment

Gender reassignment and gender identity in the workplace

Race discrimination



Duties and roles of the board and chairman

The role and duties of the company secretary

Care of key corporate documentation

Dispute resolution procedures

State aid

NLHF grant applications

TWA applications

Compliance with third party SMS and insurance requirements

HRA Code of Conduct

Grievance and disciplinary procedures

How to prevent volunteers inadvertently becoming employees or workers

Working with young volunteers


Museums and heritage

An introduction to the basics of museums

Accreditation guidance for museums

Reviewing your heritage railway collections



Competence management systems

Shunting, including coupling and uncoupling

Control of operations

Photographic charters and filming

Incident reporting and contacting the emergency services

Incident investigation

Rolling stock hire agreements

Operation of horse trams

Steel wire haulage ropes

Mechanical braking

Conditions of carriage


Filming on heritage railways

Guidance for organising school and pre-school parties

Use of red diesels

Fitness assessments for safety critical workers

Managing and preventing lineside fires

Risk assessment

First aid

Special events

Train dispatch

Personal track safety

Travelling Post Office operation

Road vehicle incursions

Level crossing sighting distances

Footplate experience courses

Emergency planning



ORR Guidance on minor railways

Management of safety critical work

Safety audits

General health and safety guidance


Needle stick injuries

Fire safety

Safety design principles



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