The transfer of responsibilities is being implemented under European Regulation 2016/796 - part of the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package - which aims to simplify processes and reduce costs.

Companies operating across EU borders now have access to a single integrated process for vehicle authorisations, single safety certificates or ERTMS trackside approval.

Applications for authorisations must now submitted through the agency’s One Stop Shop (OSS) IT tool. Upon receipt of an application, ERA assigns a project manager, who acts as a personal contact for the applicant, as well as an adviser. Each application is assessed by a dedicated multilingual team.

Bulgaria, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia have all adopted the new regime, while Switzerland will adopt it on a case-by-case basis from this month. Other EU member states will transpose the legislation by June 2020.

“For years, rail’s progress in Europe has been hampered by technical barriers and excessive cost,” says Dr Josef Doppelbauer, ERA executive director. “The new, simplified certification processes help to break down the barriers and increase harmonisation, which will improve the competitive position of railways.”