Latest Rail News

29.04.16

European Parliament approve technical pillar of Fourth Railway Package

A single European Railway Area is a step closer after the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting the technical pillar of the Fourth Railway Package.

The pillar, which was agreed during negotiations in June of last year, means that the European Railway Agency will become responsible for safety certification and the authorisation of locomotives and rolling stock for cross-border services and the pre-authorisation of tender specifications for ERTMS trackside projects.

However, it is not known how it will affect the UK if we vote to leave the European Union following the referendum on 23 June.

Libor Lochman, executive director of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies, said: “Once again: we have to understand that this is much more than a mere ‘technical’ pillar, as if it was all about solving engineering puzzles. Rather, this legislation represents the major contribution to rail transport policy that we’ve seen in years: once in force, the EU domestic and international markets will be truly open, and competition between operators and business models will truly be possible.

“In this occasion I want to thank the Parliament and the Council for their work, but also and in particular the European Commission for the sound original proposal and for the commitment in defending the ideas and principles behind the technical pillar all along the legislative process. We’ve enjoyed an outstanding cooperation and I look forward to continue it in the future: as of today we offer our expertise and availability to contribute to the definition of implementing and delegated acts foreseen by the pillar.”

The pillar introduces revised directives on safety and interoperability and of the revised regulations on the European Railway Agency.

The new legal framework is designed to encourage competition and innovation in European railway markets and cut the time and costs of obtaining authorisation for locomotives and rolling stock.

Richard Lockett, head of the cross acceptance unit at the European Railway Agency, wrote for RMT last year about the introduction of the fourth pillar.

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