On May 16, the European Commission has adopted a set of rules addressing rail interoperability, train accessibility for persons with reduced mobility and rail noise.
This series of measures completes the preparations for the ‘technical pillar’ of the Fourth Railway Package, adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in April 2016, and now ready to kick-in on 16 June 2019. The Package will help to complete the Single European Railway Area and therefore deliver on this Commission’s agenda of a fairer and deeper internal market. Its overarching goal is to revitalise the rail sector and make European railways more innovative and competitive vis-à-vis other modes of transport.
The latest adopted rules are essential for improving the accessibility of persons with reduced mobility, but also to counter one of the negative impacts of transport affecting human health – the noise. They will also will boost deployment of interoperable train operations and in particular the ERTMS, the basis for digitalising railways and launching automated services, to the benefit of European citizens and industry. It will also significantly reduce the costs and administrative burden by granting the European Railways Agency (ERA) the responsibility for issuing EU vehicle authorisations and certification for operations. Provisions for citizens with reduced mobility will ensure they have better access to information on equipment in all railway stations across Europe.
“We are putting in place a critical pillar of our vision for rail transport, with our citizens at its heart. The Commission has now finalised all preparatory works of the Fourth Railway Package. Member States must now act swiftly and implement the new rules to create a real interoperable rail network that will make rail more attractive, more reliable and competitive and at the same time reduce costs for Europe-wide railway services,” Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said.