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.
This Guide 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.
Prof Andy Doherty
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. However, the powers and the status of the ERA as such remained unchanged.
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 future cooperation between NSAs and the ERA will require the cooperation agreements, audit tools to be approved and NSAs to agree with the usage conditions of ERA’s application tool (OSS), the appeal processes and the fees & charges related to certifications.
⇒ Applicants will have to get prepared for a new procedure with so far undefined costs (time, experts, ERA, etc.).
⇒ The ERA Board of Appeal can overrule the opinion of a NSA and thus overrule national interests.
⇒ The Executive Director of the ERA can overrule the Appeal Body.
⇒ Disclaimer: The final text will be adopted early 2018
There are several open issues: