Since 1991, the European railway sector has constantly been reformed by the European Union. The 4th Railway Package, which was adopted in 2016 is by far the largest and most complex legal initiative introduced so far. The 4th Railway Package consists of a political and a technical pillar which introduce substantial reforms for all stakeholders concerned.
The Guide below (drop-down menu) illustrates in four different chapters the reforms in the field of vehicle authorisation, safety certification and ERTMS trackside approval as well as the new role of the European Union Agency for Railways as ‘frequently asked questions’. Given the fact that the implementation of the 4th Railway Package is an ongoing process, the Guide will be updated on a regular basis, in line with the progress of the reforms being made on EU level.
Chairman of the Group of Representative Bodies (GRB)
This Directive lays down provisions to ensure the development and improvement of the safety of the Union rail system and improved access to the market for rail transport services by:
In 2004, the Railway Safety Directive 2004/49/EC was adopted to create a common European regulatory framework for safety, i.e. the tasks and responsibilities related to a safety management system (SMS).
The Directive introduced common safety methods (CSMs), developed by ERA to provide a common approach to assess the level of safety and performance of all actors (RUs, IMs, wagon keepers, etc.) at EU level and in Member States. It introduced a certification scheme for entities in charge of maintenance (ECM) of freight wagons and required Member States to develop a system of national safety rules.
Directive 2004/49/EC was complemented by Directive 2008/57/EC (interoperability) and 2008/68/EC (inland transport of dangerous goods).
The EC adopted Regulation 445/2011/EU introducing a system of certification of entities in charge of maintenance for freight wagons.
⇒ With each Directive, the EU extended the scope of safety and strengthened the role of the EU vs the Member States.
Directive 2016/798 extends the scope of safety whilst centralising supervision on EU level. This is achieved by making ERA the single body for granting single safety certificates and by creating new bodies, tools and processes with the ERA to allow it to exercise its new mandate.
The Directive applies to:
The Directive does NOT apply to (unless Member States decide otherwise):
The main changes in 2016/798 are summarised below:
Common Occurrence Reporting (COR):
The ERA Regulation foresees that the Agency will charge for the services provided under the Safety Directive. The rules for fees and charges are laid down in Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/764. It is worth noting that procedures for the assessment of SMS already exists in the EU and for which fees & charges are levied by NSAs.
The new safety certification regime applies as of 16 June 2019 with transitional provisions.
Transitional provisions apply in the case where a National Safety Authority (NSA) recognises that it will not be able to take its decision over the issue of a safety certificate in accordance with Directive 2004/49/EC before either 16 June 2019 or, 16 June 2020 in respect of those Member States that have notified the Agency and the Commission in accordance with Article 33(2) of Directive (EU) 2016/798.
In such a case, the NSA has to promptly inform the applicant and the Agency. The applicant is requested to submit, from 16 June 2019 or 16 June 2020 as appropriate, a revised application through the One-Stop Shop and the single safety certificate will be issued by the selected safety certification body (i.e. the Agency or the relevant NSA).
The Agency, when acting as safety certification body, will take into account the results of the assessment carried out by the NSA relating to the Part A safety certificate in order to avoid any duplication of assessment and so, minimise the inconvenience for the applicant. In that respect, the Agency will assist the applicant to supplement the application file with additional evidence necessary to comply with the additional requirements introduced by the new legal framework. The Agency and the NSA will also cooperate and coordinate for assessing the application file.
The decisions issued by the Agency between 16 June 2019 and 16 June 2020 should exclude the network(s) of any Member States having not yet transposed Directive (EU) 2016/798. However, a single safety certificate issued by the Agency should be recognised as equivalent to a Part A safety certificate issued under Directive 2004/49/EC whilst the NSA should continue to issue its Part B safety certificate with a validity period not exceeding the one of the corresponding single safety certificate issued by the Agency.
More information under https://www.era.europa.eu/applicants/applications-single-safety-certificates_en