New regulation to make rail infrastructure more efficient, create employment and encourage investment

The EU rail service market is dominated by a few operators having, in some cases, close ties with infrastructure managers. To remedy this situation, and thereby create new opportunities for employment and investment, the European Commission has adopted implementing regulation (EU) 2016/545 on procedures and criteria concerning framework agreements for the allocation of rail infrastructure capacity, which will give better chances to operators that provide new services to get access to particularly important lines.

Pursuant to the regulation, interested companies will be informed about unused infrastructure capacity and opportunities to conclude related contracts. The Commission’s implementing regulation provides common criteria for concluding and modifying such agreements in case of conflicting capacity requests. Infrastructure managers should regularly verify if their clients still need a specific capacity and if appropriate reallocate to interested operators that part of capacity that is not being used.

The rules introduced by the Commission’s implementing regulation, applicable from December 2016 onwards, will render the rail market more competitive allowing business to better adapt to the changing needs of carriers and passengers.