Rail sector welcomes latest EP vote on TEN-T regulation but raises potential safety concerns
On 13 April, the Members of the European Parliament Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) adopted their position on the Commission proposal for the revision of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Regulation. CER acknowledges the immense work undertaken by the Rapporteurs, Shadow Rapporteurs and MEPs to amend the Commission proposal and supports most of the amendments and compromises which are positive, confirming the deadlines to deploy synchronized onboard and trackside ERTMS, strengthening multimodal rail connections, the request to study a railway high speed line network to connect all Union capitals, major cities and metropolitan areas as basis of a EU high speed network, increased attention given to rail infrastructure maintenance, and a proposal to reinforce network resilience. However, the association nonetheless calls attention to several important amendments which may lead to a deterioration in the management of the entire railway system in terms of efficiency, sustainability and most importantly, safety.
- Single EU Language - The change to a single language would not only require billions of Euros in investment and training for both drivers and infrastructure managers, and disadvantage rail against other modes, it would also increase safety risks.
- Traffic Management System – Traffic management must remain in the hands of Rail Infrastructure Managers who have proven technical competence and can ensure appropriate safety levels. Traffic management is a critical task and cannot be compromised.
- Digital Capacity Management (DCM) – While DCM is necessary to increase capacity and simplify allocation, the system operation must not be delegated to the European Rail Agency as this will hamper the process.
- Reduction of funds for significant delays – this poses a risk that more complex rail projects will be further slowed in their progress or even abandoned.
CER also strongly underlines that the advancement of the transition to the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) will reduce safety risks in Europe and calls for the transition to be hastened and reinforced with more funds and a stronger management. The association looks forward to further discussions between the Parliament and Council in the conclusion of the legislative process and expects improvements in terms of both ERTMS deployment and multimodal connections between rail and road/ports/airports.
CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “European railways need new capacity to run more trains: refurbished and new lines, multimodal connections for passenger and freight services, new high speed passenger lines, and quick progress on digital tools such as ERTMS, DCM and DAC. TEN-T is the masterplan to connect all of Europe and I hope that the European Parliament and Council will soon reach a common agreement on this important file”.