European Railway Agency - ERA

Moving Europe towards a sustainable
and safe railway system without frontiers.

Benefits of EU harmonised rules and procedures to improve railway safety

Benefits of EU harmonised rules and procedures to improve railway safety

8 Sep 2021

On 1 and 2 of September, the EU Agency for Railways organised an online seminar on safety of operations in the scope of its EUMedRail project.

The event gathered more than 150 participants from authorities and railway operators of the southern Mediterranean region, namely from Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine1 and Tunisia, including a high number of international guests from the Eastern Partnership, the Western Balkans and Turkey, South America – among other key stakeholders: the  Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF) and the International Union of Railways (UIC). 

The main objectives of the event were to present the links between safety management system (SMS) requirements and the technical specification for interoperability (TSI OPE), give an overview of functional and technical specifications of the TSI OPE (relating to staff, trains and train operations), underline the links between EU Regulations and international railway law, discuss company rules and standards and their compliance with TSI OPE, and reflect on the roles and responsibilities of railway undertakings (RUs) and infrastructure managers (IMs) to ensure safe operations during normal, degraded but also in emergency situations.  

On the first day, discussions focused on harmonised rules and procedures of the SMS in accordance with fundamental operating principles of TSI OPE, the importance to develop a competence management system for staff performing safety-related tasks (such as train driving, train preparation, authorisation of train movement), and the supporting documentation (e.g. driver’s rule book, route book). 

On the second day, participants exchanged a series of reflection on the parameters to be checked to ensure vehicle and train compatibility over the route intended for operation, and the contribution of railway standards developed by the sector (notably on safety of load and passengers among other topics). The seminar eventually addressed some of the upcoming legal changes to the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF), regarding safety regulation and safety management. 



1. This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.