- EU legislation
European Union legislation
A strategy is in place to revitalise the railways in Europe. Its aims are to:
- promote market opening;
- improve performance of rail freight;
- create incentives for product innovation and service quality;
- improving the interoperability and safety of national networks; and
- encourage the development of a sustainable, well integrated and efficient rail system.
Rail legislation in the early nineties introduced a certain degree of market opening and prompted the railways to concentrate more on competitiveness. Since then, the European Commission has put forward further initiatives in the shape of packages of legislative measures.
Further details on these and other issues can be found on the Europa website.
Further details on interoperability and TSIs (technical specifications for interoperability) can be found on the Interoperability webpage.
In this section
The First Railway Package, adopted by the European Commission in 2001, is an important suite of European Directives. It is designed to:
The first railway package was implemented in the UK in November 2005 by:
On 17 September 2010 the European Commission adopted a draft proposal to amend the First Railway Package directives. The recast aims to simplify and consolidate the rules by merging three directives and their amendments into a single text. In addition, the recast seeks to clarify existing provisions and tackle key problem areas which have been identified in the market over the last ten years. Negotiations are currently taking place between Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament.
The Second Railway Package was adopted by the European Commission in 2004. Its aim is to create a legally and technically integrated European railway area. The package contains four pieces of legislation and a recommendation:
- Directive 2004/49/EC (the Railway Safety Directive, now amended by Directive 2008/110/EC) develops a common approach to rail safety. It lays down a clear procedure for granting the safety certificates which every railway company must obtain before it can run trains on the European network and harmonises safety levels across Europe by, among other things; specifying what infrastructure managers need to do in order to receive safety authorisation.
- Directive 2004/50/EC which amended Directives 96/48 and 2001/16 on the interoperability of the European high speed and conventional rail systems respectively and now updated by Directive 2008/57/EC (the Interoperability Directive) harmonises and clarifies interoperability requirements;
- Directive 2004/51/EC opens up both national and international freight services on the entire European network from 1 January 2007;
- Regulation (EC) 881/2004 (now amended by Regulation 1335/2008) sets up an effective steering body, the European Railway Agency, to co-ordinate groups of technical experts seeking common solutions on safety and interoperability; and
- A recommendation covering the accession of the European Community to the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (COTIF).
The Second Railway Package was implemented in the UK in 2006 by:
The accession to COTIF is currently being implemented.
The European Commission adopted a third package of measures on 26 September 2007, to open up international passenger services to competition within the EU by 2010. It consists of:
- Directive 2007/58/EC on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure: envisages opening the market for international passenger services to competition from 1 January 2010;
- Directive 2007/59/EC on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the railway system in the community: lays down conditions and procedures for the certification of train crews operating locomotives and trains; and
- Regulation 1371/2007 on rail passengers' rights and obligations: ensures basic rights for passengers, for example, with regard to insurance, ticketing, and for passengers with reduced mobility.
Directive 2007/58/EC was implemented in June 2009 by:
ORR has published guidance on the assessment of new international passenger services ( 345 Kb) which sets out how we would apply the ‘principal purpose’ and ‘economic equilibrium’ tests as provided for in the Regulations.
Directive 2007/59/EC was implemented in March 2010 by The Train Driving Licences and Certificates Regulations 2010 and Regulation 1371/2007 is implemented through The Rail Passengers' Right and Obligations Regulations 2010, effective from 25 June 2010.
Regulation 1371/2007 entered into force on 3 December 2009, in full for international passenger services but only in respect of the core provisions for domestic services and was implemented through SI 2009/2970.
Other relevant international legislation
Last updated: 10 May 2012