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4 years of 4th RP - Featured

4th Railway Package implementation. One Europe. One Railway. One process.

Published: 16 June 2023

4 years ago, on 16 June 2019, a successful institutional story has begun with the implementation of the 4th Railway Package, taking European rail to new levels in the re-inforcement of the Single European Railway Area. The authorisation, certification and approval processes enabling rail operations are harmonised across Europe, accessible, transparent, and predictable. An institutional locomotive that takes us every day closer to a railway system without frontiers.

Press release

With the processes defined in the 4th Railway Package, the Agency has been mandated to issue vehicle authorisations, single safety certificates, and to grant ERTMS Trackside approvals. Instead of having to apply to multiple national authorities, now a single application to ERA, via the OSS – One-Stop-Shop, is sufficient for a vehicle authorisation or a safety certification valid in several Member States.

“There were many who were afraid of the changes this would bring – some even feared that the world of railways in Europe would stand still, after 16th of June 2019. In fact, the 4th Railway Package represents a giant leap forward” said Mr Josef Doppelbauer, ERA Executive Director, stressing that ”now, as we look at the achievements, at the number of authorisations, certificates, and approvals we have issued, we have proved that through hard work, determination and cooperation success is achievable.”

With almost 60 000 vehicles authorised, 150 single safety certificates and 10 ERTMS trackside approvals issued so far, the Agency has become the main Authority for the railway sector in the European Union, and is recognized as a reliable partner, proving its added value for the EU businesses and citizens.

Encouraged by the results obtained four years after the 4th Railway Package entered into force, ERA continues to have a clear vision of what the future of European railways shall look like. Railways must be connected, efficient, interoperable across borders and language barriers – and offer an attractive service for passengers and freight. The instruments to achieve this vision are in place – now we need to elevate the European mindset and commitment of the national decision-makers to put it in place.

Josef Doppelbauer: "Success is achievable"

Background information

About the EU Agency for Railways

The European Union Agency for Railways was established in Valenciennes in 2004, and has 188 employees representing more than 22 European Member States.

ERA has been providing EU Member States and the European Commission with technical assistance in the development and implementation of the Single European Railway Area. This comprises enhancing technical interoperability and harmonising rules, promoting simplified access for customers, developing a common approach to safety and safety culture, advising on telematics applications and ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System), monitoring National Safety Authorities and Notified Bodies and facilitating the exchange of information between the railway actors in Europe.

Since 16th June 2019 the EU Agency for Railways is mandated to issue single safety certificates and vehicle (type) authorisations valid in multiple European countries and to ensure an interoperable European Rail Traffic Management System.

About the 4th Railway Package

The technical pillar of the 4th Railway Package is designed to boost the competitiveness of the European railway sector by significantly reducing the costs and the administrative burden for cross-border rail services. In particular, the technical pillar implementation does:

  • save businesses from having to file costly multiple applications for vehicle authorisations and safety certificates in the case of operations beyond one single Member State;
  • create a ‘one-stop shop’ IT tool which will act as a single-entry point for all such applications, using easy, transparent, and consistent procedures;
  • ensure that European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) equipment is interoperable;