The 4th Railway Package – 20 Years of Changes in the European Railways Supported by Success Stories



The 4th Railway Package – 20 Years of Changes in the European Railways Supported by Success Stories

Authors

Jon Tindall, Atkins, Craig White, Atkins, Nigel Murphy, Atkins

Description

The paper focuses on regulatory changes in the railway sector in Europe over the last 20 years and looks into how liberalisation can drive sustainable growth of patronage, deliver economic benefits and incentivise investment.

Abstract

European Railways have gone through significant restructuring and changes over time. The main goal of these changes is to enhance competitiveness in the railway sector and provide better, safer and interoperable railways in Europe. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Railway packages led to a significant progress in this respect. The 4th Railway package of proposed new regulations and directives has been announced exactly a year ago. By December 2019 railway undertakings (TOCs) must be granted access to provide all services - including, for the first time, domestic passenger services - in all EU Member States. However, only seven Member States have (to some extent) opened their domestic rail passenger markets to foreign operators. Additionally, the new regulation requires the mandatory separation between the function of owning/operating the track (the role of the infrastructure manager) from that of providing the train service to customers (railway undertaking). Approximately half of the countries do not have a full legal, financial and operational separation of these two functions (de jure and de facto). The experience in selected countries over the last 20 years can provide valuable lessons to different stakeholders involved in the railway sector in Europe, in the United Kingdom and Sweden in particular.

This paper focuses on the regulatory changes in the railway sector in Europe over the last twenty years, provides a set of success examples from more open and liberalised railway sectors, the UK in particular and looks into how liberalisation can drive sustainable growth of patronage, deliver economic benefits and incentivise investment. At first, the paper provides an introduction into the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th railway package. Secondly, it provides an overview of the current level of liberalisation and functional separation between the network manager and operator in Europe. Subsequently, a number of success stories in rail franchising and functional separation are provided. Finally, the paper provides an overview of the key threats and opportunities of the 4th Railway package for different types of stakeholders in Europe and includes a proposal for further research and analysis specific to domestic passenger rail market opening and functional separation of the network manager and undertaking.

Key words: 4th Railway package, domestic passenger market opening, functional separation, network manager, railway undertaking, operator, franchising


Authors: Jolanta Rekiel, Jon Tindall, Nigel Murphy (Atkins)

Publisher

Association for European Transport