As a member of the NRDC the earliest you can draw your NRDC benefits is age 55.
You don’t have to draw your NRDC benefits at the age of 55, but you must claim your benefits before the age of 75.

At Network Rail there are three types of retirement:

  • retire and leave Network Rail
  • retire and remain in employment with Network Rail
  • ill-health

Retire and leave Network Rail

If you leave Network Rail and you are over age 55, you can decide to draw your NRDC benefits.
When drawing your NRDC benefits you will have the following options:

  • take some of your NRDC Personal Retirement Account (PRA) as a cash lump sum (usually up to 25% can be taken tax-free), and use the remaining amount of your PRA to purchase an annuity with a separate insurance company to provide you with a monthly income in retirement;
  • take all your NRDC benefits as a cash lump sum. You can take a maximum of 25% as a tax-free cash lump sum. The remaining 75% would be subject to tax at your marginal rate;
  • transfer your PRA to a Flexible Drawdown arrangement. This will allow you to take part or all of your PRA as and when you need it.

Retire and remain in employment with Network Rail

If you are aged 55 or over but don’t wish to down tools and fully retire, Network Rail offer you the option of drawing your NRDC benefits and carry on working with the Company, in your existing role and retaining your current working hours.
This is subject to Company approval, with some supporting information sought from your Line Manager.

If Company approval is granted, you will have the same options as listed in the section above when drawing your NRDC benefits.

Initiating your retirement

Before you make any decisions, it’s always advisable that you obtain an NRDC pension estimate of what you’re likely to receive if you do retire.
You’ll also need to check to see if your NRDC benefits impact your Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance.

You can obtain an NRDC pension estimate on your NRDC Member Account or by contacting the Network Rail Pensions Team.

Following receipt of your NRDC pension estimate, if you do decide to retire you will need to contact the Network Rail Pensions Team in order to initiate your retirement.
To allow enough time to get your NRDC benefits in place ready for payment, please contact the Network Rail Pensions Team three to six months prior to your intended retirement date.

Please include the following information in your email:

  • Network Rail Employee Number;
  • Date of retirement / date you wish to draw your NRDC benefits;
  • whether you are leaving Network Rail or remaining in employment with Network Rail.

If you are intending to retire and remain in employment with Network Rail, Company approval will be sought at this point.

Following confirmation of your retirement date or Company approval being granted, a Retirement Pack, including details of the options available to you and the forms for you to complete, will be sent to your home address.

Payment of your NRDC benefits

Payment of your NRDC benefits depends on which option you have elected.

If you have elected to take all of your PRA as a lump sum, you will receive your lump sum payment shortly after the pension scheme administrator has received your final NRDC contributions. This may be after your date of retirement depending on Network Rail pay days.

If you have elected to purchase an annuity, or chosen a Flexible Drawdown option, shortly after the pension scheme administrator has received your final NRDC contributions, your NRDC benefits will be transferred to your annuity/Flexible Drawdown provider.
You will need to speak to your new annuity/Flexible Drawdown provider for details of when you receive your payment.

For tax purposes, pension is classed as income and therefore subject to tax but not National Insurance Contributions.


If you have to stop working because of illness or injury, you may be able to draw your NRDC benefits before the earliest retirement age of 55.

In order to qualify for payment of an Ill-Health pension under the Rules of the NRDC scheme, an application must be made to the Trustee with supporting medical evidence and information about your current role at Network Rail.

If the Trustee agrees that you meet the criteria due to your incapacity, they can permit payment of your accrued Personal Retirement Account (PRA) at any age.
However, if you are age 55 or over, you can access your NRDC benefits without this ill-health provision.