Policy Dossier

Activity: 4th Railway Package

The Technical Pillar brings a new approach to vehicle authorisation and single safety certification

The 4th Railway Package is a set of 6 EU legislative documents focusing on two main priorities for the Single European Railway Area: Technical Harmonisation and Governance Structures. 

The Technical Pillar consists of the revision of the Safety and Interoperability Directives and the new Regulation on the European Railway Agency. The Governance Pillar includes Regulations on opening domestic passenger rail markets, and the governance and accounts relationships between RUs and IMs.

The 4th Railway Package should provide for a simpler process for vehicle authorisation, safety certification, and smoother implementation of the technical specifications for interoperability.   Consequently the role of the European Railway Agency had to be reconsidered and enhanced as the Single European Authority for Vehicle Authorisation and Safety Certificates.

With regard to the governance and market opening proposals, after an adoption by the Council in October 2016, the European Parliament formally approved the package in December 2016. The directive and 2 regulations were officially published in the EU Official Journal on December 23rd, 2016. The pillar aims to open up domestic rail passenger markets in the member states. This includes offering train companies fair conditions for access to the rail network.

Significance to UIP and our Members

The priority for UIP remains with the Technical Pillar.  In order to achieve a competitive and transparent European railway market with technical harmonisation, conformity assessment, vehicle authorisation and safety certification at a European level, the streamlining of administrative procedures, setting clear roles and responsibilities, and the removing of superfluous national regulations should be assured and provided for.  Furthermore, it is of utmost importance to include and clearly define the role of Wagon Keepers and ECMs as actors within the railway system.

With regard to the Technical Pillar, UIP is already involved in the activities towards its implementation and more specifically the preparation of ERA for its future role as One Stop Shop (OSS) for Vehicle Authorisation (VA) and Single Safety Certification (SSC). This preparation process is expected to run in three phases from 2016 until 2018. The European Railway Agency, becoming the European Union Agency for Railway, should be fully operational for its new roles by 2019.
UIP together with GRB Partner Associations to maintaining an open dialogue to develop common proposals and recommendations on the implementing and delegated acts that will support the 4RP.

UIP also acts as a spokesperson to the Administrative Board of ERA, where strategic decisions are made regarding the future role of the agency, as well as on the its Multiannual and Annual Work Programme (SPD). UIP’s key role during this preparatory phase is to support and ensure that the deliverables, the new processes, rolesa and responsibilities but also tools reflect the appropriate framework and level playing field for the Wagon Keepers and their ECM(s).

UIP Documents

Joint Statement on the Fourth Railway Package Technical Pillar - April 2016
4th Railway Package’s Technical Pillar: a top priority for the railway sector - December 2013
4th Railway Package – Rail sector needs Technical Pillar - June 2013
4th Railway Package - UIP welcomes the publication of the package - January 2013

EU Documents of interest

4th Railway Package’s Market Pillar - Published texts - December 2016: Directive and Regulations
4th Railway Package’s Technical Pillar - Published texts - May 2016
4th Railway Package – Commission proposals of 2013

Activity: Rail statistics

Economic Evaluation and Rail statistics need reliable data

European transport policies require impact assessments or regular monitoring of implementation and performance.  For this there is a strong need for data on rail transport, including infrastructure, rolling stock, freight services, and rail freight performance.  At European level, DG MOVE, EUROSTAT and ERA started activities on synergies and streamlining of data in order to avoid gaps, duplication, inaccuracies and inconsistencies. Data is usually provided voluntarily or mandatorily by Member States (Regulatory Bodies, NSAs, or National Statistical Bodies) or the Sector Associations and individual railway actors. The biggest challenge is to find a common understanding on the type of data that is required and an agreement on the type data that can be provided in reality.

On 18th of July 2016, the Council reached an agreement on the amendment of Regulation (EC) No 91/2003 on rail transport statistics, as regards the collection of data on goods, passengers and accidents. The main key issue was the European Parliament request for additional data in particular concerning safety, accessibility and abandoned cross‐border rail points. Most of the data requested being already collected by other Commission services or agencies. A consensus was reached as the signature of two memoranda, one between Eurostat and DG Move and one between Eurostat and the European Rail Agency guarantee that the data they requested are dealt with and will be easily available to the public. The details about the state of play of the legislative procedure can be found at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/procedure/EN/2013_297.

EUROSTAT Working Group on Rail Transport Statistics

EUROSTAT is a Directorate-General of the European Commission located in Luxembourg. Its main responsibilities are to provide statistical information to the institutions of the European Union (EU) and to promote the harmonisation of statistical methods across its member states and candidates for accession as well as EFTA countries. The Eurostat working group brings together Member State Representatives, their National Statistical Authorities, and Representatives of the Rail Sector, DG MOVE and ERA. Statistical data on Rail freight transport are publicly availbale and updated yearly (see Railway freight transport statistics for the actual main statistical findings).

Rail Market Monitoring Scheme (RMMS) Working Group

On July 7 2015 the European Commission adopted an Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1100 on the reporting obligations of the Member States in the framework of rail market monitoring. This falls part of Art. 15 of the recast of the 1st Railway Package. The scope of data that is collected includes:

  • Infrastructure charging for passenger and freight services
  • Noise abatement measures: general reporting
  • Capacity allocation (provided and rejected) for passenger and freight services
  • Infrastructure expenditures including freight terminals
  • Revenue from passenger and freight services
  • Quality of services
  • Degree of market opening for passenger and freight
  • Employment and social conditions
  • Service facilities

The first set of data according to the new Regulation covering the activities of 2015 is expected to be submitted by Member States to the Commission by 31 December 2016. Along with the RMMS, DG MOVE has set-up together with a group of Infrastructure Managers a high-level platform called PRIME, who is developing infrastructure related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on ERTMS, Safety, Punctuality, etc..

ERA Railway Indicators

In the ERA Working Group UIP worked together with other National Safety Authorises and other Associations of the rail Sector to developed and define Railway Indicators, which are to be used to monitor and assess the implementation and practices by ERA and the Sector in the following 4 Strategic areas/activities:

  • Harmonised Safety Framework (incl. questions relevant to ECM)
  • Removal of Technical Barriers (related to Vehicle Authorisation)
  • Single EU Train Control and Communication System (related to ERTMS)
  • Simplified Access to Customers (related to TAF, Registers, Data Exchange)

Significance to UIP and our Members

As a key player in the railway system, UIP wants to assure that transport policy is built on accurate, reliable and conclusive data that truly represents the sector, its assets, its performance, and its technical, operational and business needs. UIP takes part in three main working groups: Rail Market Monitoring Scheme RMMS Working Group (DGMOVE), EUROSTAT Working Group on Rail Transport Statistics, Economic Evaluation Working Party at the European Railway Agency. In addition, the UIC publishes also yearly statistics tables on railway traffic, network lengths, number of vehicles covering not only the European but also the entire railway market (http://uic.org/statistics).

In order to support policy-makers in shaping the future of transport policies, UIP is planning to collect aggregated fleet data via its Topical Committee Economic Evaluation. This should allow as well to increase credibility and awareness about the business cases for independent Wagon Keepers and avoid distortions and amalgams in data analysis.

UIP Documents


EU Documents of interest

Regulation (EU) 2016/2032 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2016 amending Regulation (EC) No 91/2003 on rail transport statistics, as regards the collection of data on goods, passengers and accidents - November 2016
DG Move - Statistical pocketbook 2016 - Data from 2014 - May 2016
Implementing Regulation 2015/1100 on the reporting obligations in the framework of rail market monitoring - July 2015
4th RMMS report on monitoring development of the rail market - June 2014

Activity: Research & Innovation

Research & Innovation should respond to the needs of the customers

In order to achieve a Single European Area, the rail sector has to be more innovative and open-minded towards solutions that support not only technology improvement, but also innovative approaches to operations, maintenance and logistic services.  This requires both, a short-term and a long-term vision, strategic planning and delivery in order to address existing challenges and barriers in our daily business.  Therefore, research activities at EU level are to support:

  • Ambitious goals to achieve interoperability and maintain safety levels around Europe
  • Stronger role of the railways as a more active mode in a multimodal transport
  • Increasing demand for the rail sector to perform better and achieve a more competitive and efficient transport for passengers and freight.

Research Activities for the rail freight sector are supported by  the current Horizon 2020  EU framework Programme and Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking.

Within the Horizon 2020, the Rail related activities are supported under Specific Programme “Smart, Green and Intelligent Transport”.  The EC will hold an INFO Day on December 13, 2017 with the objective to explain the scope of projects that will be covered for the 2018-2020 period and offer tips for application submission.

(Source: UIP)

The Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (S2R JU) was established under HORIZON 2020and under Regulation (EU) No 642/2014  as a new public-private partnership in the rail sector to provide a platform for coordinating research activities with a view to drive innovation in the sector for the years to come.  It consists of Founding Members and Associated Members.  The Founding Members of the JU are the European Commission plus eight players from the rail sector: Alstom, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), Siemens and Thales, Network Rail and Trafikverket. In December 2015, 19 associated members joined the initiative (see JU members for more details).

The Shift2Rail JU manages the entire budget of at least €920 million for the period 2014-2020 for rail only research. Under the co-financing structure, the EU’s commitment amounts to a maximum of €450 million, while the rail sector Members contribution is around €470 million.  With that in mind, there are wo types of calls:

  • Founding Members(CFM) calls reserved for Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking members (incl. associated members),
  • Open calls  (OC)available to companies, universities, research institutes and others who are not Shift2Rail members
  • For Freight Activities under Innovation Programme 5, the allocated co-financing budget is €1,5 million.
  • There is also a Cross-Cutting Activity (CCA) on Smart Maintenance and Human Capital with co-financing budget of €700 000.

Topics under the different calls relating to rail freight/rail freight wagons on keepers are as follows:

(source: Shift2Raill, adapted by UIP)
Significance to UIP and our members

It is important for our members to be in the know on the latest innovation that shapes the future of the railways and freight transport.  As investors in rolling stock, the Keepers are best positioned to provide guidelines, and define requirements when it comes to smart and innovative wagons.

UIP is a member of the European Rail Research Council (ERRAC) which is the European Technology Platform for Rail where strategies on research and development are defined by the railway sector.

UIP is also a member of the Users Group of Innovation Programme 5 (IP5) of Shift2Rail, whose role is to provide recommendations, present its needs and define requirements for innovation in freight transport and rail freight vehicles.

As a representative body UIP acts as a coordinator and facilitator for its members to become involved and participate in projects related to noise, optimisation of rolling stock, and rail freight performance in general. Together with other Associations and industry companies, UIP has most recently had to consider the future role of ERRAC not only in the governance structure of Shift2Rail, but also in extending its scope to issues related to new policy priorities under Climate, Energy, and Digitalisation.

Shift2Rail Press release - S2R awards first grants - June 2016
Shift2Rail Masterplan - March 2015
Shift2Rail Factsheet - July 2014
Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking – Frequently Asked Questions - December 2013

Last update: October 2017