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From 16 June 2019 onwards, the EU Agency for Railways (ERA) takes responsibility for vehicle authorisation, safety certification, and ERTMS trackside approval. This marks the beginning of a new era of single and simplified authorisation and certification processes in Europe.
From today, companies operating across EU borders rely on one single, integrated process to obtain vehicle authorisations, single safety certificates or to request ERTMS trackside approval. They must now contact ERA in Valenciennes, filing one single application through its One-Stop Shop IT tool (OSS). Upon receipt of an application, ERA assigns a project manager who is the personal contact for the applicant and who advises him/her throughout the process. Dedicated multilingual expert teams assess each application.
The new responsibilities of ERA indicate a substantial change for the European rail system. However, not all countries are onboard at the moment. While Bulgaria, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia adopted the new regime in June 2019, other countries chose to transpose the new legislation by June 2020. Switzerland will adopt the new regime on a case-by-case basis from June 2019.
Josef Doppelbauer, Executive Director of ERA stated: “For years, the progress of railways in Europe has been hampered by technical barriers and excessive cost. The new, simplified certification processes help breaking down the barriers and increasing harmonisation, which will improve the competitive position of railways.”
Fourth Railway Package
The Fourth Railway Package European legislation and the vision of SERA: a Single European Railway Area The new role of ERA is part of the Fourth Railway Package, a number of new legislative texts defined in May 2016 by EU Parliament. The Fourth Railway Package legislation gives ERA a leading role in ensuring the implementation of a harmonised European legislation in that the Agency becomes the single certification body for international railway traffic in Europe.
Harmonised European legislation for rail is also referred to as SERA: a Single European Railway Area. It is the European vision of free movement of people and goods between all European countries, the highest safety standards and universal access to services. This should allow railways, currently the most sustainable mode of transport, produce less combustion emissions than road- and air transport and become more attractive for freight and passengers.
This article first appeared on www.railfreight.com
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