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18.—(1) Subject to the requirements of this regulation, and without prejudice to articles 81, 82 and 86 of the Treaty, an infrastructure manager may enter into a framework agreement with an applicant for the purpose of specifying the characteristics of the infrastructure capacity required by and offered to the applicant over a period of time exceeding one working timetable period.
(2) An applicant who is a party to a framework agreement may apply for the allocation of capacity in accordance with the terms of that agreement
(3) Whilst seeking to meet the legitimate commercial needs of the applicant, a framework agreement must not specify any train path in detail.
(4) The effect of a framework agreement must not be such as to preclude the use of the railway infrastructure subject to that framework agreement by other applicants or services.
(5) A framework agreement must contain terms permitting the amendment or limitation of any condition contained in that framework agreement if such amendment or limitation would enable better use to be made of the railway infrastructure.
(6) A framework agreement may contain penalties applicable on modification or termination of the agreement by any party.
(7) Other than in circumstances described in paragraphs (8) and (9), a framework agreement made in accordance with paragraph (1) shall in principle be for a period of up to five years.
(8) A framework agreement for a period of between five and ten years must be justified by the existence of commercial contracts, specialised investments or risks.
(9) A framework agreement for a period in excess of ten years may only be made in exceptional cases, in particular where there is large-scale and long-term investment, and particularly where such investment is covered by contractual commitments.
(10) Whilst respecting commercial confidentiality, the general nature of each framework agreement must be made available by the infrastructure manager to any interested party.
(11) This regulation is without prejudice to section 18 of the Act in the case of a framework agreement which is an access contract to which that section applies.
(12) Except where section 17(3) of the 1996 Act applies—
(a)a framework agreement in relation to a rail link facility shall not be subject to the approval of the Office of Rail Regulation under section 18 of the Act; and
(b)nothing in these Regulations shall have the effect of applying any of sections 17 to 22C of the Act to a rail link facility.
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