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Ensuring the compatibility of EU rail systems

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Ensuring the compatibility of EU rail systems

The European Union seeks to accelerate the integration of its rail network* by introducing common conditions and standards. These help to ensure high levels of both safety and efficiency.

ACT

Directive 2008/57/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the interoperability of the rail system within the Community (Recast).

SUMMARY

The European Union seeks to accelerate the integration of its rail network* by introducing common conditions and standards. These help to ensure high levels of both safety and efficiency.

WHAT DOES THIS DIRECTIVE DO?

It lays down the conditions to be met to achieve interoperability** within the EU’s rail system in a way that is compatible with Directive 2004/49/EC on railway safety. This is particularly in relation to the procedures for authorising the placing in service of railway vehicles.

The conditions concern the design, construction, placing in service, upgrading, renewal, operation and maintenance of this system. They also relate to the professional qualifications and health-and-safety conditions of the staff who operate and maintain it.

KEY POINTS

The EU pursues its goal of an interoperable rail system - both high speed and conventional - by adopting and then implementing uniform technical standards applicable in all EU countries. The directive lays down:

essential requirements with regard to safety (e.g. of components such as braking equipment), reliability (e.g. monitoring and maintaining key components), human health, environmental protection, technical compatibility and operation of the system (Annex III);

technical specifications for interoperability (TSIs) adopted by the European Railway Agency for each subsystem*** or part of a subsystem, as required by this directive;

the corresponding European specifications.

The European Commission has powers to adopt further legislation on specific aspects of technical specifications relating to railway interoperability. The aspects dealt with by such legislation include technical specifications for freight wagons and locomotives, accessibility to the rail system for persons with disabilities and reduced mobility and safety in tunnels.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

From 19 July 2008.

BACKGROUND

This directive repealed Directive 96/48/EC on the interoperability of the European high-speed rail system and Directive 2001/16/EC on the interoperability of the European conventional rail system.

KEY TERMS

* Network: the lines, stations, terminals and fixed equipment that are needed to ensure safe and smooth operation of the rail system.

** Interoperability: the ability of a rail system to permit the safe and uninterrupted movement of trains which achieve the required levels of performance for these lines.

*** Subsystems: the result of the division of the rail system (Annex II). These subsystems, for which essential requirements must be laid down, may be structural (e.g. infrastructure or signalling) or functional (e.g. traffic management or maintenance).

For more information, see the interoperability pages on the European Commission’s website.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2008/57/EC

19.7.2008

19.7.2010

OJ L 191, 18.7.2008, pp. 1-45

Subsequent amendments and corrections to Directive 2008/57/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purposes only.

Last updated: 10.06.2015

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