The EC presented a draft regulation of a single railway area 20/07/23

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The EC presented a draft regulation of a single railway area

Author: Łukasz Kuś 2023/07/20


The European Commission has presented a package of legislation to accelerate the decarbonization of freight transport by increasing the share of rail in cargo transport and introducing zero-emission trucks on the road. Industry organizations supported the proposal to introduce a single railway area, although they have reservations about changes to road transport regulations.


On July 11, the European Commission presented two draft regulations. The first concerns the reform of railway capacity management, which will create a single European railway area. Currently, timetables are prepared separately by each national infrastructure manager and their coordination is often poor, which means that trains sometimes have to wait many hours to be able to cross the border. Particularly serious problems with crossing borders occur during track closures during renovation works, which are also not coordinated. The creation of a single railway area will reform the way timetables are prepared for international trains, which will increase the capacity of railway lines.

The new directive assumes the establishment of a European Network of Infrastructure Managers, which will coordinate the preparation of timetables and support rail traffic management in crisis situations. Guidelines for intelligent bandwidth management based on modern digital tools will also be introduced.

Read also:Digitization as a way to harmonize timetables in Europe

Heavier e-trucks


The second proposal concerns the regulation of the weight and size of road vehicles. The EC wants zero-emission trucks to have a greater permissible weight and length. This is a response to the problem of the limited net capacity of electric trucks due to the large weight of the batteries, which currently discourages many carriers from replacing diesel vehicles with green ones. In addition, increasing the permissible length of vehicles will allow the use of more aerodynamic shapes of driver's cabs, which will reduce energy consumption. The EC's proposals are another project after the amendment of the TEN-T Directive as part of the Green Deal for transport. Proposals to amend the intermodal transport directive will be presented in the coming months.

Representatives of the railway and intermodal industry welcomed the long-awaited reform of railway network capacity management, although they expressed doubts about changes in truck regulations. According to the European Rail Freight Association, changes to the regulations enabling an increase in the permissible weight of e-trucks should be introduced simultaneously with the amendment of the intermodal directive to create a uniform package. — Work on the revision of the Weight and Dimensions Directive must be carried out in conjunction with the revision of the Combined Transport Directive, which will be published later this month. Both texts must ensure the interoperability of road and rail freight transport as well as fair competition between modes of transport, stated the ERFA statement.

In turn, the Union of International Combined Road and Rail Transport stated that improving capacity at cross-border railway stations is crucial for increasing the volume of intermodal transport in Europe. — Door-to-door combined transport could realistically triple in efficiency by 2050 if the regulatory framework is changed accordingly. All the legislative proposals contained in the Green Freight Transport Package are also linked to the TEN-T Regulation, which is currently under review, providing a unique opportunity to adopt a holistic legislative approach to improve the economy and the environment, reads the UIRR opinion.