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Workshop Paper / Transport

6th Florence Rail Forum Summary – The Technical Pillar of the 4th Railway Package: Challenges for Standardisation and Interoperability

Author(s): FINGER Matthias, BERT Nadia, BRAND-WEINER Ian

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ABSTRACT

The present document summarises the presentations and discussions of the 6th European Rail Transport Regulation Forum on "The Technical Pillar of the 4th Railway Package: Challenges for Standardisation and Interoperability"

Presentations were delivered by representatives of many different types of stakeholders, based on the introductory remarks on the Technical Pillar of the 4th Railway Package by Mr Keir Fitch, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of mobility and transport. and  based on the following initial questions formulated by the organisers:

  • What are the major issues in implementing the Technical Pillar of the 4th Railway Package? 
  • What is and should be the role for the European railway Agency when implementing the Technical Pillar of the 4th Railway Package? 
  • What are the implications of the proposed interoperability measures for the different stakeholders? 
  • Are the safety and interoperability measures sufficient to create an internal railway market? Which are the opportunities and threats?

From the discussion, one may say that everybody agrees that the Single European Railway Area (SERA) is a good idea and its full implementation will be a valuable tool for the completion of the European open market. In fact, with the SERA the current railway system would be improved in terms of easier interoperability, less delays, increased safety and, last but not least, better market performance. In the last 20 years, several reforms have been following one another to open the market; however major obstacles are still in place. Therefore, the European Commission released a new package of reforms for those aspects that are actually preventing the achievement of the open market.

In this context, the discussion at the 6th ERailTRF dealt with the safety, the interoperability and the European Railway Agency directives, letting the Technical Pillar emerge as probably the least controversial part of the 4th Railway Package. Some concerns related to the implementation, the timing and the costs of these reforms have been brought up, as well as some criticism to the fact that more could have been done to speed up the process even more.

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