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)


This Directive lays down provisions to ensure the development and improvement of the safety of the Union rail system and improved access to the market for rail transport services by:

  1. harmonising the regulatory structure in the Member States;
  2. defining responsibilities between the actors in the Union rail system;
  3. developing common safety targets (‘CSTs’) and common safety methods (‘CSMs’) with a view to gradually removing the need for national rules;
  4. setting out the principles for issuing, renewing, amending and restricting or revoking safety certificates and authorisations;
  5. requiring the establishment, for each Member State, of a national safety authority and an accident and incident investigating body; and
  6. defining common principles for the management, regulation and supervision of railway safety.