European Railway Agency - ERA

Making the railway system work better for society

Applications for single safety certificates

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Access to the railway infrastructure is granted only to railway undertakings that hold a valid single safety certificate.

The single safety certificate gives evidence that the railway undertaking has established its safety management system and is able to comply with its legal obligations.

A single safety certificate is valid for a given area of operation, i.e. a network or networks within one or more Member States where the railway undertaking intends to operate.

Who must apply for a single safety certificate?

The railway undertakings whose business is to transport goods and/or passengers, whether or not their activities are limited to providing traction only, must hold a valid single safety certificate to be granted access to the railway infrastructure.

How do I make an application?

Applicants should read the Commission Implementing Regulation establishing practical arrangements for issuing single safety certificates and the related ERA guidance, which provides information about the legislation, application process and what is required from the applicant.

The ERA application guide is supplemented by the application guide of the National Safety Authority or Authorities (NSAs) concerned by the intended area of operation. The national guide should describe and explain the national administrative procedures, including the documents to be submitted by the applicant to demonstrate compliance with the national rules, the applicable language policy of the NSA (or the Member State) and further information on the way to appeal against their decisions. Please refer to the website of the NSA for more information.

The application is made to the safety certification body. The process is the same no matter if ERA or the NSA is the safety certification body (single European process). In the case of rail operations in more than one Member State, ERA will be the safety certification body. Otherwise the applicant can choose whether to apply to ERA or to the relevant NSA.

All applications for a single safety certificate must be electronically submitted through the One-Stop Shop (OSS) . This includes any new, update or renewal application for a single safety certificate.

Applicants can also submit a ‘pre-engagement’ application, which is optional for the applicant but mandatory for the safety certification body and/or the NSAs concerned with the area of operation, on request of the applicant. The ‘pre-engagement’ covers all prior formal exchanges of information between the applicant, the safety certification body, the concerned NSAs and other interested parties, before the actual submission of the application. This allows the applicant to obtain an opinion from the safety certification body concerning the approach proposed by the applicant at an early stage of the process.

Where can I find the decision about my application?

All decisions following an application for a single safety certificate can be found in the One-Stop Shop (OSS) . The applicant can only access information pertaining to its respective applications.

The single safety certificates are published in the European Railway Agency Database of Interoperability and Safety (ERADIS).

When does the new safety certification regime apply?

The new safety certification regime applies as of 16 June 2019 with transitional provisions.

Transitional provisions apply in the case where a National Safety Authority (NSA) recognises that it will not be able to take its decision over the issue of a safety certificate in accordance with Directive 2004/49/EC before either 16 June 2019 or, 16 June 2020 in respect of those Member States that have notified the Agency and the Commission in accordance with Article 33(2) of Directive (EU) 2016/798.

In such a case, the NSA has to promptly inform the applicant and the Agency. The applicant is requested to submit, from 16 June 2019 or 16 June 2020 as appropriate, a revised application through the One-Stop Shop and the single safety certificate will be issued by the selected safety certification body (i.e. the Agency or the relevant NSA).

The Agency, when acting as safety certification body, will take into account the results of the assessment carried out by the NSA relating to the Part A safety certificate in order to avoid any duplication of assessment and so, minimise the inconvenience for the applicant. In that respect, the Agency will assist the applicant to supplement the application file with additional evidence necessary to comply with the additional requirements introduced by the new legal framework. The Agency and the NSA will also cooperate and coordinate for assessing the application file.

The decisions issued by the Agency between 16 June 2019 and 16 June 2020 should exclude the network(s) of any Member States having not yet transposed Directive (EU) 2016/798. However, a single safety certificate issued by the Agency should be recognised as equivalent to a Part A safety certificate issued under Directive 2004/49/EC whilst the NSA should continue to issue its Part B safety certificate with a validity period not exceeding the one of the corresponding single safety certificate issued by the Agency.