News 01 Jun 2023

Rail sector steadfast in dedication to advancing passenger rail transport across Europe

Today, the third progress report of the Platform on International Rail Passenger Transport (IRP), which outlines the current status of commitments in the first two Sector Statements was presented to the Transport Council. The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) appreciates the opportunity to contribute to shaping the future of the rail sector through its engagement in the platform, and recognises the value of collaboration with the Member States and other sector stakeholders in driving meaningful change and promoting a sustainable and efficient railway system throughout Europe.

The Ministerial Platform on International Rail Passenger Transport (IRP) was set up in 2020 to improve the framework conditions for the development of international passenger rail services in Europe, facilitating modal shift and the goals of the Green Deal. The Platform is also supported by sector parties and consumer organisations within the ‘Sector Mirror Group’ to the IRP.

As a leading actor of this group, CER continues to demonstrate its steadfast dedication to fulfilling the significant commitments outlined in the Sector Mirror Group’s first and second sector statements, issued in spring 2021 and 2022. Today’s published third report showcases the remarkable progress made in delivering on these commitments and effectively identifies the remaining obstacles that require further attention and resolution.

Notable accomplishments within the CER membership include;

  • the development and implementation of electronic Ticket Control Devices (eTCD) and the universal digital ticket as part of the CER Ticketing Roadmap.
  • the deployment of the Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM) which remains on track for a successful rollout by 2025. However, the delayed adoption of the Technical Specification for Interoperability on Telematics Applications for Passengers (TAP-TSI) has impacted the overall deployment progress.
  • the release of OSDM Version 2.0 has been pivotal in driving its adoption across significant segments of the Swedish and Swiss markets.
  • the UIC-IATA project on air-rail tickets is actively developing a solution based on the New Distribution Capability (NDC) and OSDM standards.

The sector continues to invest efforts into expanding booking horizons. It is important to note that certain Member States' national legislation restricts selling tickets more than one month in advance. Nevertheless, several railway undertakings have piloted ticket sales up to 12 months in advance. Additionally, eleven CER members already provide a booking horizon of six months or more.

The recently publicised CIT Agreement on Journey Continuation (AJC) has gained momentum with the inclusion of new Railway Undertakings, such as MAV-Start and GYSEV from Hungary. The AJC is poised for further enhancements and improved communication in the near future. The International Rail Transport Committee (CIT), CER, and the European Passenger Federation (EPF) are jointly collaborating to refine the details of this agreement.

Furthermore, the sector also continues its efforts in developing the “Timetable Redesign (TTR) for Smart Capacity Management” process and improving current practices of allocation of rail capacity.

CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “CER is proud of the progress achieved to date and acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead. We seek continuous support from both national governments gathered in the IRP and European institutions to address the remaining obstacles and ensure the successful realisation of our commitments. By fostering collaboration and driving innovation, the sector remains steadfast in its dedication to advancing passenger rail transport across Europe.