Joint letter to the European Commission to accelerate the setting-up of Shift2Rail

Joint Letter from the Group of Representative Bodies

Within the European railway sector, the Joint Undertaking SHIFT²RAIL is broadly acknowledged to be the first European initiative focussing on research and innovation (R&I) and market-driven solutions by accelerating the demonstration and integration of new and advanced technologies into innovative solutions for the operational railway.

The Group of Representative Bodies (GRB) would like to emphasise that the SHIFT²RAIL initiative will be key in supporting the implementation of the objectives of the Transport White Paper (2011) and the realisation of the Single European Railway Area (SERA).

A significant number of GRB members have made great efforts to initiate, build up and/or shape the SHIFT²RAIL Joint Undertaking. We note however that after the first phase of euphoria about a breakthrough in rail research and innovation, progress has slowed to a pace that is both disappointing and not very motivational.

GRB is concerned by the delays in the setting-up and implementation of the joint undertaking. SHIFT²RAIL has been in the development pipeline of the European Commission for many years and the initiative has met with broad consensus among the sector stakeholders. Europe cannot afford to hold back the start of this significant R&I programme any longer, which all the investors were expecting – and for which resourcing plans were prepared – in the first quarter of 2015. We are disappointed that this is being delayed by administrative processes that could threaten the competitiveness of the European rail sector.

The Group of Representative Bodies calls upon the European Commission and its relevant services to significantly accelerate the setting-up of SHIFT²RAIL to start the research and innovation activities as soon as possible. GRB is ready and on hand to provide whatever help and assistance it can to stimulate the successful start-up of SHIFT²RAIL. In this context I am convinced that your personal engagement is absolutely vital and I hope to receive feedback from you soon.

Joint letter to CEN on closing of TSI Open Points

Paper prepared by the Group of Representative Bodies

This paper has been prepared by the Group of Representative Bodies (GRB) as a contribution to the work programme of CEN_CENELEC’s Sector Forum Rail (known to the rail community as the Joint Programming Committee – Rail (JPCR)) in order to influence the future work programme of CEN_CENELEC and align it with the business needs of the sector.

The rail sector has a number of business priorities reflecting the business activity of the various stakeholders. Despite these varying priorities, the one objective that is shared by all is the desire to build the Future European Rail System.
It is imperative that the rail system is designed, constructed, operated and maintained with a constant perspective of wholeness.
Standardisation and the production, publication and maintenance of ENs is a key component of this system approach therefore it is essential that CEN_CENELEC’s work programme reflects these sector objectives.

The Approach
The focal point of this paper is centred on the recent review of the open points that exist in the TSIs and how the rail community believes these could be closed. Some of those proposals rely on research and innovation which could also lead to future standards.
Whilst some suggest that existing standards need to be updated, others recommend the preparation of new standards.
This paper focuses on the two latter proposals.

Joint letter to the European Commission on funding CEN budget

Joint letter from the Group of Representative Bodies to the Commissioner in charge of Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Dear Ms BieĊ„kowska,

The Railway Sector is very active in supporting both the European Railway Agency and ‘CEN-CENELEC-ETSI’ for the development of the Interoperability and Safety regulations and the European technical standards.

When it comes to railway standardisation, it is the sector in its widest sense (railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, suppliers, users...) that invests a significant amount of time and effort (including its own experts) in standards development and the subsequent purchase of those standards and thereby covers about 95% of the total cost of standardisation works for rail in Europe.

Standardisation is a very important support for the internal market and also for business competitiveness. Rapid technological changes in our sector require a flexible, responsive and business-focussed standardisation system. This is essential to the competitiveness of rail not only in Europe but also on global markets and for that we want to promote initiatives that improve its efficiency.

New Approach Consultants employed by CEN_CENELEC are identified by the sector as a key contributor for the quality and efficiency of the standardisation process in our sector whilst helping to reduce the delivery time of the standards. Their work is complementary to that of the sector and they guarantee consistency between the voluntary standardisation structure and the regulatory framework managed by the European Railway Agency.

The availability of these New Approach Consultants was however interrupted during the first 7 months of 2014, and currently, we understand, the work on standardisation is again interrupted for an undefined period due to negotiations between CEN_CENELEC and your services on the budget for these New Approach Consultants.