A single railway network for Europe



Directive 2012/34/EU establishing a single European railway area


Directive 2012/34/EU seeks to clarify the legal rules that apply to the EU’s rail sector so as to:

The directive merges and repeals the three directives from the ‘first railway package’. These concern:

Directive (EU) 2016/2370 amends Directive 2012/34/EU with regard to the opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services and the governance of railway infrastructure.


Increased quality through competition

Directive 2012/34/EU:

Infrastructure managers *

Domestic passenger services

Amending Directive (EU) 2016/2370 ensures that all railway companies have equal access to tracks and stations. However, EU countries may limit the right of access to passenger services between a given place of departure and a given place of destination when one or more public service contracts cover the same route. This is also the case when one or more public service contracts cover an alternative route, if exercising this right were to compromise the economic equilibrium of the contract or contracts in question.

Regulatory control

Rail financing

The competent public authorities must prepare longer-term investment strategies to offer more stability to the infrastructure manager, in taking investment decisions and in planning works, as well as more certainty to investors, in order to encourage companies to invest in modernising infrastructure. These strategies should cover a period of at least 5 years and should be renewable.

Adoption of implementing and delegated acts

The European Commission has adopted a series of implementing acts that supplement Directive 2012/34/EU and concern the following.

In 2017, the Commission adopted Delegated Decision (EU) 2017/2075 replacing Annex VII to Directive 2012/34/EU. This concerns the schedule for the infrastructure capacity-allocation process.

COVID-19 pandemic



For more information, see:


Infrastructure manager: any body or firm responsible for operating, maintaining and renewing railway infrastructure on a network, as well as for participating in its development as determined by an EU country as part of its general policy on developing and financing its infrastructure.
Essential functions: decision-making concerning:


Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 establishing a single European railway area (OJ L 343, 14.12.2012, pp. 32-77)

Successive amendments to Directive 2012/34/EU have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.


Regulation (EU) 2020/1429 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 October 2020 establishing measures for a sustainable rail market in view of the COVID-19 outbreak (OJ L 333, 12.10.2020, pp. 1-5)

Regulation (EU) 2020/698 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 May 2020 laying down specific and temporary measures in view of the COVID‐19 outbreak concerning the renewal or extension of certain certificates, licences and authorisations and the postponement of certain periodic checks and periodic training in certain areas of transport legislation (OJ L 165, 27.5.2020, pp. 10-24)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1795 of 20 November 2018 laying down procedure and criteria for the application of the economic equilibrium test pursuant to Article 11 of Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (OJ L 294, 21.11.2018, pp. 5-14)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2177 of 22 November 2017 on access to service facilities and rail-related services (OJ L 307, 23.11.2017, pp. 1-13)

Commission Delegated Decision (EU) 2017/2075 of 4 September 2017 replacing Annex VII to Directive 2012/34/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a single European railway area (OJ L 295, 14.11.2017, pp. 69-73)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/545 of 7 April 2016 on procedures and criteria concerning framework agreements for the allocation of rail infrastructure capacity (OJ L 94, 8.4.2016, pp. 1-11)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1100 of 7 July 2015 on the reporting obligations of the Member States in the framework of rail market monitoring (OJ L 181, 9.7.2015, pp. 1-26)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/909 of 12 June 2015 on the modalities for the calculation of the cost that is directly incurred as a result of operating the train service (OJ L 148, 13.6.2015, pp. 17-22)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/429 of 13 March 2015 setting out the modalities to be followed for the application of the charging for the cost of noise effects (OJ L 70, 14.3.2015, pp. 36-42)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/171 of 4 February 2015 on certain aspects of the procedure of licensing railway undertakings (OJ L 29, 5.2.2015, pp. 3-10)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/10 of 6 January 2015 on criteria for applicants for rail infrastructure capacity and repealing Implementing Regulation (EU) No 870/2014 (OJ L 3, 7.1.2015, pp. 34-36)

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 869/2014 of 11 August 2014 on new rail passenger services (OJ L 239, 12.8.2014, pp. 1-10)

last update 25.01.2021