4th Railway Package - Guide


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.

Christian Rausch
Chairman of the Group of Representative Bodies (GRB)


The Directive applies to:

  • the entire Union rail system.;
  • as well as to ‘tram-trains’ as so far as they operate on national rail infrastructure.

The Directive does NOT apply to (unless Member States decide otherwise):

  • local public transport systems (metros, trams and other light rail systems);
  • Member States may exclude privately owned railway infrastructure (incl sidings), local, historical or touristic infrastructure and vehicles, light rail infrastructure occasionally used, vehicles primarily used on light rail infrastructure.