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9. Operational - Introduction  

Operational activities form the core of a company by creating, producing and delivering the products and services that customers want - taking into account primary business objectives like safety, from initial planning to conform to applicable requirement to maintenance and operation.  Safety is, of course, one of primary objectives and so safety and safety measures should be embedded in operational related processes. 

The risk control measures -be it technical, human, organisational or every possible combination of these - are an integral part of the operational activities. They are built into the system to make it able to deliver normal operation and respond adequately to regular and irregular disruptions and disturbances, e.g. by adjusting its functioning to better match the new conditions, by mitigating the effects of an adverse event, by preventing a further deterioration or spreading of events, by restoring the state that existed before the event, etc.

Operational activities should ensure that service is delivered in compliance with applicable rules. 

Typical operational processes (the list is not exhaustive) refer to:

  • Traffic planning,
  • Traffic management in normal and degraded situation (it includes control-command system and equipment),
  • Train preparation,
  • Train driving in normal and degraded situation,
  • Infrastructure (track and signalling) maintenance,
  • Rolling stock fitness for operation.

Such operational arrangements and procedures [9.1] should take into account normal and degraded situations, as well as emergencies [9.2].
Although the Technical Specifications for Interoperability are applicable only to a limited part of the European railway network, they can provide detailed reference for the description of operational processes:

  • COMMISSION DECISION of 1 February 2008 concerning the technical specification of interoperability relating to the operation subsystem of the trans-European high-speed rail system adopted referred to in Article 6(1) of Council Directive 96/48/EC and repealing Commission Decision 2002/734/EC of 30 May 2002 (2008/231/CE)
  • COMMISSION DECISION of 11 August 2006 concerning the technical specification of interoperability relating to the subsystem ‘Traffic Operation and Management’ of the trans-European conventional rail system(2006/920/EC) and relevant amendments [be careful: this document is currently under revision]

Important: such technical specifications do not cover all range of operational arrangement.

Sole compliance with them does not ensure safe operation.

The following table shows that operational processes need processes for implementation to implement their key activities concerning: technical equipment, staff and operational procedures.

The use of processes for implementation on a continuous basis ensures that each operational activity is performed as it was intended to.


Initial conformity to legal safety requirements​ Maintenance of conformity​ Operational management of resources​​
Technical equipment
Rolling stock has been put into service (= it has achieved its technical acceptance and registration)
Infrastructure (track-CCS equipment) have been put into service​
Rolling stock and infrastructure is duly maintained ​
Applicable requirement (e.g.: route book) are fulfilled on a day by day basis.
Rolling stock is fit for operation and trains are prepared for running​
Staff is adequately trained and, when necessary, certified (initial training)
Medical  & psychological requirements have been checked​
A continuous follow-up, including evaluation of knowledge, skills and competence and refresh training is adopted for all safety related tasks​
Possession of necessary competencies for the task and  compliance with labour law​
Operational procedures
A priori identification of applicable requirements with respect to the IM’s/RU’s field of activities is carried out.  Documents are exhaustive and support compliance.
Documents (Rule books, instructions, safety orders, protocols, etc...) are constantly updated
Circulation of documents, ensuring that each staff member has the right documentation at the right time​

Please also refer to: