Tuesday 3 December 2013
UIC Europe

The Fourth Railway Package’s Technical Pillar: a top priority for the railway sector

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The Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE), the International Union of Wagon Keepers (UIP), European Rail Freight Association (ERFA), the International Union for Road-Rail combined transport (UIRR) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) confirm their strong support for the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package. They stress the importance and urgency for reaching a sound agreement at the European Parliament as soon as possible. Furthermore, the railway sector calls upon the European institutions to adopt the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package before the European elections of May 2014.

The Technical Pillar is a top priority to for the European railway sector. It will help make sure that railways remain competitive as a sustainable transport mode and as an industry in and for Europe.

The Technical Pillar is a fundamental milestone for the establishment of the Single European Railway Area.

The European railway sector believes that European Railway Agency (ERA) should be the authority for issuing European vehicle authorisation.The agency should function as a one stop-shop cooperating with the national safety authorities (NSAs). The European vehicle authorisation will be based on the vehicle’s compliance with the relevant Technical Specification for Interoperability (TSIs) and sets of national rules for the selected networks indicated in the ‘area of use’.

In the same context, ERA should also authorise the placing in service of trackside ERTMS subsystems whereas the NSAs should be responsible for the authorisation of energy, infrastructure and CCS subsystems (including class B train protection systems). In future, the streamlined European authorisation process should be based on a clear set of rules integrating exclusively TSIs and notified national technical rules (NTRs). Under ERA’s supervision, Member States must reduce the number of the national technical rules to those that are strictly required for network compatibility. These conditions are a prerequisite for a strong and competitive European railway sector.

The sector fully supports that ERA becomes the authority for the ‘Single Safety Certificate’ and that the safety certification clearly indicates the ‘area of operation’.

In order to perform its new tasks, it is essential that the Agency is adequately resourced, including the appropriate competence and skills.

Finally, it is of the utmost importance to ensure the shortest possible transition period for the new role of ERA. The railway sector should benefit from the Fourth Railway Package’s Technical Pillar as soon as possible, as it will enhance the performance of the rail sector and boost mobility in Europe.

UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën stated: “The European railway industry calls for a capitalisation of the major achievements attained so far in the Technical Pillar and highly encourages the European Parliament to adopt it during the current legislative period: the Technical Pillar is essential for the Industry.”

UIP Secretary General Gilles Peterhans stressed: “To foster the full deployment of the Single European Railway Area, we encourage the European Institutions to approve the Technical Pillar as it is about time to start the transition towards new realities and to provide the Sector with appropriate tools to revitalise the railways.”

ERFA Secretary General Pierre Tonon reminded: “ERFA insists to keep the package as a whole but also strongly wants to get valuable results from the very good work progress already registered during this EU legislative mandate. A minimum success for the Fourth Railway Package would be to adopt the Technical Pillar before the next mandate!”

UIRR Director General Martin Burkhardt pointed out: “While stronger separation rules – as prescribed in the Commission proposal – would be very much needed to eliminate the privileged relationships advantaging incumbent (state owned) European railway undertakings over their newcomer peers, UIRR also recognises the importance of the Technical Pillar from the aspect of the overall competitiveness of the European railway sector, and subsequently joined the call for its accelerated adoption by the European legislators”.

UIC General Director Jean-Pierre Loubinoux outlined: “It is essential for the future rail system that there is a speedy arrival at a stable position from which the rail sector can evolve. There are significant challenges ahead for the system as a whole, it is therefore vital that the legislative framework is in place and able to support the necessary innovative steps”.

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