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The technical pillar of the fourth railway package is underway

The technical pillar of the fourth railway package is underway
photo: Archives/Railway
03 / 11 / 2020

The European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) is becoming the single European certification authority for railway vehicles and rail operators. The EU member states had to submit all documents and implement all measures into their legislation by 31.10.2020. This date has thus become another important milestone in the field of rail transport.

The fourth railway legislation package was approved by the EU in 2016. It builds on the base the White Book of 2011. Its aim is to create a single European railway area. It also wants to increase the efficiency of railway services and improve competitiveness in the railway market. However, the package implies several changes for Member States' legislation, both operational and technical.

The operational part aims to create a single European railway area (2012/34 / EU). However, it also includes changes in passenger transport through the regulation on public passenger transport services (1370/2007). The technical part focuses mainly on security and interoperability. All the changes had to be incorporated into Member States' legislation.

The European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) will, for example, approve track-side parts of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), approve vehicles or issue safety certificates to carriers. This should apply in all Member States. To illustrate, at the end of September, the agency approved 10,000 vehicles, issued 1,000 decisions and 14 safety licenses.

The creation of the ERA should greatly simplify administration. If train operators wanted to operate in more than one country, they have had to apply to each country separately for the necessary permits and certifications. Now one permit is going to be enough for all the Member States. The application can be submitted electronically via the ERA website.

ERA has also become the approver of the ERTMS track-side system. It should replace all of the national systems in the future. This would create one comprehensive European railway system.