Since the early 1990s, Europe’s political leaders have sought to standardise and integrate the transport network – including air, road and rail. A decade later, regulations had been drafted, amended and implemented with member states beginning work on interoperability. Here is a look at the significant events of the past two decades and how they have impacted on the European Union’s passenger and freight networks.
1991-1998: First Railway Directive
The European Economic Community (EEC) adopted the First Railway Directive, also known as the First Railway Package. It proposed opening up markets – networks and services for passenger and freight – in what was a major shift for many member states. Following its establishment in 1993, the European Union (EU) introduced a set of new legal requirements on the licensing of railway companies. It meant a license awarded in one member state was valid across what would become the Single European Railway Area (SERA).
At the same time, the EU indicated it planned to introduce a uniform rail traffic management system to improve interoperability, raise safety standards and promote efficiency between networks. At the beginning of the next decade several counties began to introduce an early version of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).
In 1998 the European Commission (EC) announced proposals it said would make the First Railway Package more effective. The legislation, the first of four to be implemented over the following two decades, was formally introduced in 2001.