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 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