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 4th Railway Package (RP) is meant to achieve the following objectives:

  • Boost the competitiveness of the railway sector by significantly reducing costs and administrative burden;
  • save businesses from having to file costly multiple applications for vehicle authorisations and safety certificates in the case of operations beyond one single member state;
  • create a ‘one-stop shop’ IT tool which will act as a single-entry point for all such applications, using easy, transparent and consistent procedures;
  • Harmonise the implementation of ERTMS;
  • Reduce the large number of national rules and make them more transparent.