APRIL 19 saw the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport & Tourism vote on the four-part Third Railway Package.

The proposed regulation on the quality of freight services was overwhelmingly rejected, prompting CER Executive Director Johannes Ludewig to comment that ’quality in the rail freight market comes through competition and good rail infrastructure, not through new laws and even more state intervention and bureaucracy.’

However, the committee endorsed an amendment bringing forward the opening up of the market for international passenger services from January 2010 to 2008, including so-called cabotage - the ability to pick up and set down passengers on the national legs of a service. Operators will also note that the committee supported the extension of passenger rights to national services.

The committee backed a proposal for train crews to possess certificates attesting to general qualifications with validity throughout the EU, with drivers’ certificates recognising specific training related to local routes and operational procedures. Of particular concern to CER is that the directive would cover on-board crew other than drivers.