The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in the UK has asked the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) and its subsidiary National Rail Enquiries to publish a code of practice for access to its database of real-time train information.

The move is an effort to encourage a competitive market to provide live train information services to passengers and the code is expected to be in place by the end of February 2010.

This follows an ORR investigation in June this year which revealed that any company wishing to provide live train information to passengers must deal with ATOC, which is the sole controller of live passenger information in the country.

ORR chief executive Bill Emery said that the move aims to ensure that the industry remains open to third parties who want to invest, to inject new ideas and new ways of doing things, to innovate and ultimately to expand the products and technology available to consumers.

“I want to see ATOC leading the way in real-time train information, and a code of practice will support this aim,” Emery said.