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)


Regulation 2016/796 extends the mandate and tasks of the ERA in line with the scope of Directive 2016/797 (Interoperability Directive) and Directive 2016/798 (Safety Directive). De jure the Agency becomes an authority responsible for issuing authorisations for the placing on the market of railway vehicles and vehicle types, for issuing single safety certificates for railway undertakings in the European Union and for granting ERTMS trackside approval. With this new Regulation the Agency has become the ERTMS system authority:

  • This Regulation establishes a European Union Agency for Railways (‘the Agency’).
  • This Regulation provides for:
    • the establishment and tasks of the Agency;
    • the tasks of the Member States in the context of this Regulation.
  • This Regulation supports the establishment of the single European railway area, and in particular the objectives relating to:
    • interoperability within the Union rail system provided for in Directive (EU) 2016/797;
    • safety of the Union rail system provided for in Directive (EU) 2016/798;
    • the certification of train drivers provided for in Directive 2007/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council.