Non-stop trains from Lisbon to Liverpool
Brussels, Belgium – Freight trains should soon run from Antwerp to Athens or Lisbon to Liverpool without stopping at borders or changing locomotives or train crews. So say three co-decision reports, adopted by the Transport Committee 2007-09-11, on measures to revitalise the railways by removing obstacles to the free circulation of trains throughout the European network.
But MEPs stressed that much still needs to be done to improve the interoperability of the European railways. National procedures for the approval of locomotives are seen as the main barrier to creating an EU-wide railway system. So mutual acceptance of both existing and new railway stock specifications needs to be facilitated, says rapporteur José Ortuondo Larrea (ALDE, ES).
Authorisation and technical specifications
In addition to the Commission proposals, the Committee adopted a range of technical compromise amendments that restructure a proposed procedure for authorising the placing in service of railway vehicles that comply with Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) based on European standards and national rules.
Maintenance and safety
The committee adopted a compromise text drafted by Rapporteur Paolo COSTA (ALDE, IT), which makes it clear that someone must be designated as responsible for checking that each vehicle is well maintained. But it also says that responsibility for operating safety must in any event rest with the railway operator, as this is vital to assigning responsibility in the event of accidents. This compromise takes account of the existing interoperability provisions of the EU Regulation on the European Railway Agency and the Railway Safety Directive (RSD).
MEPs also favoured granting more powers to the European Railway Agency, and said that from 2015, this agency, rather than its national counterparts, should grant authorisations for railway vehicles to operate Community-wide.
Committee on Transport and Tourism
In the chair : Gilles SAVARY (PES (FR), FR)
Procedure: co-decision, first reading – Plenary vote: October, Strasbourg