Rail Forum Europe’s members call for a single European market for railway rolling stock

Posted: 7 July 2011 | | No comments yet

Debate on the issue of the authorisation of railway vehicles in the EU…

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MEPs and rail stakeholders gathered on 5 July at the European Parliament in Strabsourg to debate on the issue of the authorisation of railway vehicles in the EU and agreed that the objective of a single European market for railway rolling stock needs to be achieved as quickly as possible.

Marcel Verslype, Executive Director of the European Railway Agency (ERA), and Janis Vitins, Marketing and Product Planning Director of Bombardier’s locomotive business, were invited to share their expertise and propose solutions.

Janis Vitins presented the remaining barriers to interoperability and explained that the complexity of national processes still in force creates considerable cost inefficiencies and delays in delivery. He presented technical solutions proposed by the rail industry to overcome this complexity, such as vehicle platforms and ERTMS. He also called for policy action so as to enforce cross-acceptance of national rules, ultimately eliminate them to the benefit of European rules, better coordinate the action of National Safety Authorities and reinforce the role of ERA.

Marcel Verslype acknowledged the long way to go until the achievement of a single European market for rolling stock and that although it is not ERA’s role to enforce interoperability and safety regulation, they are providing an increasing amount of support to the Commission in this area. He mentioned however the progress achieved by the Agency in terms of transparency (publication) of national rules, cross acceptance and completion of EU rules and regulations. He underlined that “a key hurdle to a single European vehicle market is the inconsistent or incomplete implementation of the interoperability and safety directives by the Member States”.

Michael Cramer, Member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee and Rail Forum Europe’s Vice-President, said “the current inadequate implementation of EU interoperability and safety regulation in the Member States is a breach of European law”.

Several stakeholders called for a more independent European Railway Agency and for the reinforcement of its powers. Marcel Verslype did not wish to take position but did not close the door to an extension of the powers of the Agency. He assured that “the priority now is implementation of EU regulation”.

Brian Simpson, Chairman of the EP’s Transport Committee and Rail Forum Europe President, added that “to ensure interoperability, it is essential to invest in rail infrastructure so as to make it compliant with interoperability rules. We must fight for this despite the financial constraints in the Member States.”

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