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 NSA will issue vehicle authorisations for single country applications (single Member State only) when selected by the applicant;
  • The NSAs remain responsible for the supervision of the railway actors at national level;
  • For all other cases, the NSA role will be limited to the assessments for the defined area of use based on national rules (if any);
  • The same system of cooperation between the Agency and the NSA also exists for ERTMS track-side approvals.;
  • For this dual system to work, the ERA must have concluded a cooperation agreement with each NSA prior to their national implementation.

The future cooperation between NSAs and the ERA will require cooperation agreements to be signed, 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 authorisations and approvals.