Freight wagons, source: On Rail GmbH

7,800 railway vehicles authorised for cross-European operations

The European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) has celebrated the first anniversary since it started to authorise railway vehicles, to issue safety certificates and ERTMS approvals. For this period, it delivered 638 authorisations for 7,800 vehicles to be operated across the EU. Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak caused some delay in implementing the 4th Railway Package.

From the mid-June 2019 to the late May 2020, ERA delivered 638 vehicle authorisations. This figure includes 599 conformity-to-type decisions, 18 pre-engagement baseline opinions, 16 decisions on vehicle type authorisation and five applications were rejected. In general, the issued permissions refer around 7,800 railway vehicles. In addition, the agency delivered 11 Single Safety Certificates and six ERTMS Trackside approvals.

“Looking back on our experience so far, we can already confirm two positive developments. Firstly, the Europeanisation of these processes has brought the involved parties closer together – National Safety Authorities (NSAs), applicants, and ERA, and created something that can only be described as a truly European spirit. Secondly, we can testify that the harmonisation of authorisation/certification processes already spills over into other technical sub-categories, which means that we have taken a huge step towards reaching our ultimate goal – a technically integrated Single European Railway Area (SERA) that produces scalable, efficient, and affordable products,” Josef Doppelbauer, Executive Director of ERA, said.

Delay for 4th Railway Package

On 16 June 2019, ERA took responsibility for vehicle authorisation, safety certification, and ERTMS trackside approval across the EU within the implementation of the 4th Railway Package. The railway companies got the right to fill only one application through its One-Stop Shop IT tool (OSS) in order to obtain the necessary permission. This regulation was adopted by eight EU members, including Bulgaria, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia, as well as by Switzerland on a case-by-case basis.

The other EU Member States had been obliged to implement the mentioned rule by 16 June 2020. This deadline was met by five countries (Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, and Slovakia). The remaining states such as Belgium, Sweden, Poland, Austria and others will implement this rule by 31 October 2020. The delay was caused by the COVID-19.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

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

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