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)


Directive 2016/797 extends the scope of interoperability whilst introducing a new streamlined and harmonised process for vehicle authorisation and for ERTMS trackside approval at EU level. For that purpose, ERA has been given an enhanced role as the European authorising entity and is developing several new tools and processes, such as:

  • a One-Stop Shop (OSS) IT tool which serves as the IT-portal for all stakeholders to submit their applications for vehicle authorisation as well as single safety certification and ERTMS Trackside approvals;
  • a Board of Appeal (BoA) which will serve as body deciding on litigation cases;
  • enhanced databases (i.e. Register of infrastructure (RINF), a new European Vehicle Register (EVR) replacing ECVVR and a new Single Rules Database (SRD) replacing RDD in the future, among others.