Headquarter of EU Agency for Railways (ERA), source: ERA

Europe makes major step to single rail market

European Union has made a major step towards the single rail market. On 16 June, the EU Agency for Railways (ERA) has taken responsibility for vehicle authorisation, safety certification, and ERTMS trackside approval. This rule was adopted by eight EU members, others are obliged to do this by June 2020.

ERA has simplified authorisation and certification processes including the vehicle authorisation, safety certification, and ERTMS trackside approval. From 16 June the European rail companies should contact the ERA’s office in Valenciennes, France, and fill only one application through its One-Stop Shop IT tool (OSS). After receiving an application, ERA assigns a project manager who advises the applicant throughout the process. Dedicated multilingual expert teams assess each application.

This substantial change was adopted by Bulgaria, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia. The other EU members will implement the new rules by June 2020. Switzerland as a non-EU member will adopt the new regime on a case-by-case basis from June 2019. “For years, the railway’s progress in Europe has been hampered by technical barriers and excessive cost. The new, simplified certification processes help to break down the barriers and increasing harmonisation, which will improve the competitive position of railways,” said Dr Josef Doppelbauer, Executive Director of ERA.

In the short video, Mr Doppelbauer also explains what the adoption of the new rule means for the European rail sector.

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Fourth Railway Package

The new legislation was adopted as a part of the Fourth Railway Package. This document was approved by the European Parliament in April 2016. It provides the liberalisation of rail transport within the EU and the creation of the European single rail market. Fourth Railway Package has four main goals: unification of authorisation and certification, strengthening of rail infrastructure managers, opening of the domestic passenger markets and maintaining a skilled rail workforce. All these goals require the harmonisation of the country’s legislation to make railways more attractive for passengers and freight.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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