Before a new or modified railway vehicle is permitted to operate on the EU railway network it must be authorised. An authorisation is granted for a vehicle and/or vehicle type (vehicle type authorisation) or for individual vehicles that conform to an already authorised vehicle type (vehicle authorisation for placing on the market).
The authorisation process allows the authorising entity to achieve a reasonable assurance that the applicant and the other entities involved in the design, manufacture, verfication and validation of the vehicle and/or vehicle type have fulfilled their obligations and responsibilitites, in order to ensure that the vehicle and/or vehicle type conforms to the applicable laws.
When identifying relevant rules, the applicant should take into account the relevant Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs), the applicable national rules and other applicable Union law (e.g. non-road mobile machinery emissions under Regulation (EU) 2016/1628).
A vehicle and/or vehicle type authorisation is valid for a defined area of use, i.e. a network or networks within one or more Member States where the vehicle may be used. A further authorisation is required if changes are made to the area of use (extension of the area of use), and may also be required if changes are made to an authorised vehicle and/or vehicle type (new authorisation).
The applicant for vehicle authorisation is the natural or legal person requestion an authorisation. The law does not impose a restriction on who can play the role of applicant: it can be a railway undertaking, an infrastructure manager, a manufacturer, an owner or a keeper.
Applicants should read the Commission Implementing Regulation establishing practical arrangements for the authorisation process and the related ERA guidance, which provides information about the legislation, application process and what is required from the applicant.
The application is made to the authorising entity. The process is however the same no matter if the Agency or the National Safety Authority (NSA) is the authorising entity (single European process). In the case of vehicles and/or vehicle types to be operated in more than one Member State, the Agency will be the authorising entity. Otherwise the applicant can choose whether to apply to the Agency or to the relevant NSA.
All applications for authorisation of a vehicle and/or vehicle type must be electronically submitted through the One-Stop Shop (OSS).This includes vehicles and/or vehicle types to be authorised for the first time (new design), changes to already authorised vehicles and/or vehicle types, extensions of the area of use, vehicles in conformity to an already authorised type and renewed vehicle type authorisation.
Applicants can also submit a ‘pre-engagement’ application, which is optional for the applicant but mandatory for the authorising entity and/or the NSAs concerned with the area of use, on request of the applicant. The ‘pre-engagement’ covers all prior formal exchanges of information between the applicant, the authorising entity, the concerned NSAs and other interested parties, before the actual submission of the application for authorisation. This allows the applicant to obtain an opinion from the authorising entity concerning the approach proposed by the applicant at an early stage of the process.
All decisions following an application for authorisation of a vehicle type or a vehicle can be found in the One-Stop Shop (OSS). The applicant can only access information relating to its own applications.
After its authorisation the vehicle type information is made publically available through the European Register of Authorised Vehicle Types (ERATV). Certain documents forming part of the authorisation process are also made publically available through the European Railway Agency Database of Interoperability and Safety (ERADIS).
The new authorisation 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 vehicle (type) authorisation in accordance with Directive 2008/57/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 57(2) of Directive (EU) 2016/797.
In such a case, the NSA has to promptly inform the applicant and the Agency. The applicant is requested to submit, from 16 February 2019, a revised application through the One-Stop Shop and the vehicle (type) authorisation will be issued by the selected authorising entity (i.e. the Agency or the relevant NSA).
The Agency, when acting as authorising entity, will take into account the results of the assessment carried out by the NSA in order to avoid any duplication of assessment and so, minimise the inconvenience for the applicant. In that respect, the Agency and the NSA will assist the applicant, upon its request, 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) 2016/797. However, a vehicle (type) authorisation issued by the Agency should be recognised as equivalent to a first authorisation whilst the NSA should issue an additional authorisation in accordance with Directive 2008/57/EC.
Freight wagons with an authorisation for placing on the market should be recognised as equivalent to vehicles with an authorisation for placing into service according to Directive 2008/57/EC by the NSA of the Member State having not yet transposed Directive (EU) 2016/797 by 16 June 2019.