The EC says the proposal will ensure the validity of safety authorisations for certain parts of rail infrastructure for “a strictly-limited period of three months” to allow long-term solutions in line with EU law to be put in place.

The measures are aimed particularly at the Channel Tunnel, Britain’s only direct rail link with Europe, and will be conditional on Britain maintaining safety standards identical to EU requirements.

“This will ensure the protection of rail passengers, the safety of citizens and will avoid major disruptions of cross-border rail operations and shuttle services after Britain’s withdrawal,” the EC says.

A statement issued by Britain’s Railway Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) in October confirmed Britain would continue to abide by EU rail standards and protocols after it leaves the EU, even in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The EC has also advised operators and national authorities to continue taking all necessary measures to comply with EU rules on train driver licences and market access as well as safety certificates and authorisations required to operate in the EU.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 30, but the debate to agree on the terms of the withdrawal agreement continues. The EC has warned businesses and member states to prepare for the two most likely scenarios:

  • Britain leaving with some form of transition period, with EU law ceasing to apply to and in Britain on January 1 2021, or
  • the no-deal scenario, with Britain crashing out of the EU overnight on March 29.

“It is important to note that contingency measures will not - and cannot - mitigate the overall impact of a “no-deal” scenario, nor do they in any way compensate for the lack of preparedness or replicate the full benefits of EU membership or the favourable terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement,” the EC says.