4th Railway Package - Technical Pillar


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. 

This Guide 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 Interoperability Directive foresees that the ERA will charge for its services. These so-called “fees and charges” are currently under discussion between the EC DG MOVE, EC DG Budget, the ERA as well as the Member States (NSAs). It is worth noting that the ERA intends to become partially self-funding.

It is worth noting that the vehicle authorisation procedure already exists in the EU and for which fees & charges are levied by NSAs. However, the approval of ERTMS track-side equipment tenders is a new procedure. Therefore, IMs will have to prepare for a new procedure and costs as regards to ERTMS track-side equipment. So far 5 IMs have agreed to participate in so-called ‘learning cases’ launched by ERA in order to better define ERTMS track-side approval processes and thereby limiting their costs. However, the outcome of these cases will be too late for the intended legislative act on ERTMS track-side component approval which is to be adopted by May 2018.