EUROPE: The EU Agency for Railways has issued its first vehicle authorisation, three weeks after becoming the European authorising entity for rail traffic on June 16.

ERA said the authorisation covering conformity-to-type of 30 wagons for operation in multiple countries was an ‘historic step to break down barriers in Europe’.

‘Thanks to our learning case programme prior to June 16, and the excellent co-operation between ERA experts and the applicants before and prior to the authorisation process, we are well-prepared to efficiently manage the new applications’, said Executive Director Josef Doppelbauer. ‘I’m proud to say that our processes have been running smoothly from day one.’

Cross-border operators can use ERA’s ‘one-stop shop’ tool to access a single integrated process to obtain vehicle authorisations, single safety certificates or to request ERTMS approval. ERA then assigns a project manager to advise the applicant throughout the process, with multilingual expert teams to assess each application.

‘ERA succeeded in taking the decision on this conformity-to-type authorisation well within the legal timeframe of four weeks’, said Thierry Breyne, head of the ERA’s Planning & Approvals Delivery Unit. ‘Considering that this first authorisation is a learning process for all parties involved, I congratulate the experts from the manufacturer and ERA to have managed this so well.’

In the first two weeks, ERA received more than 30 valid applications for vehicle authorisations and two applications for single safety certificates, involving most of the countries that have now transposed the technical pillar of the EU’s Fourth Railway Package.

These are Bulgaria, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia, with non-EU Switzerland also using it on a case-by-case basis. Other EU member states with railways are expected to transpose the legislation by June 2020.