What are the TSIs (Technical Specifications of Interoperability)?
Define the technical and operational standards which must be met by each subsystem or part of subsystem in order to meet the essential requirements and ensure the interoperability of the railway system of the European Union.
For each of those subsystems, the essential requirements need to be specified and the technical specifications determined, particularly in respect of constituents and interfaces, in order to meet those essential requirements.
Why is a new process for revising the TSIs needed?
There are four main issues for the EU Agency for Railways (ERA) to address related to the current process for the revision of the TSIs:
- The siloed process: there are separate and distinct Working Parties for each individual TSI, which prevent a consistent horizontal approach between TSIs;
- The current work procedures, which prevent the composition of the Working Parties from evolving in-life;
- Discussions in the different Working Parties, which are difficult to track and trace;
- The limited allocation of resources of ERA per TSI revision is an issue.
ERA´s new ‘Change Control Management’ (CCM) is a set of standardised tools, methods and procedures that ERA uses to control and manage the changes made to the TSIs.
The new CCM is meant to ensure that:
- Change Requests (CRs) are traced and properly documented;
- Unnecessary changes are prevented;
- Resources are used efficiently;
- Stakeholders have an opportunity, in accordance with applicable rules, to initiate changes and participate in the control of those changes;
- Users are aware of any changes that occur.
In the future, CRs are classified as ‘Error’ or ‘Enhancement’ and can cover the following topics:
- Alignment with newly available standards (‘ENs’);
- Correction of deficiencies;
- Closure of open points;
- Request for specific cases;
- Request to consider new topics/items not covered by TSIs.
ERA proposes to extend the usage of its new CCM to the following TSIs:
- ENE TSI;
- INF TSI;
- LOC&PAS TSI;
- NOI TSI;
- WAG TSI;
- SRT TSI;
- PRM TSI;
- OPE TSI.
ERA proposal for the new TSI revision process
The new organisational structure proposed by ERA to facilitate and enhance the TSI revision process is illustrated below:
The CR submitter is an entity entitled to submit a CR to the Agency. A CR submitter has a unique access to the CR IT Tool.
The following entities can submit a CR:
- The Representative Bodies;
- The National Safety Authorities;
- Each Member State;
- The European Commission;
- The Agency (ERA).
The ERA Core Team is composed of the Agency staff members having competence on the revision of TSIs.
The ERA Core Team receives, filters and classifies the CRs. ERA staff from the Core Team chairs the Working Party and reports at each Working Party meeting via the CCM tool about the current state of the CRs, their progress and the workload of the Topical Working Groups (TWGs).
The Working Parties will have the role to steer the activities of the TWGs by:
- Validating and amending the proposals from the ERA Core Team;
- Asking for reporting from the TWG;
- Contributing to the selection of an alternative where several alternatives are possible;
- Finally validating and amending proposed changes to the TSIs.
Based on the information introduced by the ERA Core Team in the CCM tool, the Working Party endorses, modifies or rejects the methodology proposed to close each CRSs, including the creation and composition of the Topical Working Groups. The Working Party participates in the definition and the closure of the Change Requests.
TWGs are temporary groups created to solve a specific CR or several CRs focusing on technical discussions on specific points. The composition of a TWG is proposed by the ERA Core Team and validated by the Working Party. It includes:
- Members from representative bodies and from NSAs who are likely to provide the required expertise;
- Independent experts and representatives of users if deemed necessary.
EIM in action
EIM is involved in ERA TWGs covering:
- The adaptation of the TSIs to facilitate intermodal freight transport;
- Composite brake blocks;
- Train modular architecture – on board CCS;
- The interfaces between rolling stock and fixed installations;
EIM has appointed experts to participate in the TWGs. The following table shows the 7 TWGs:
|TOPICAL WGS Proposed by ERA||TSIs affected|
|Adapt the TSIs so as to facilitate intermodal freight transport||WAG INF OPE|
|Composite Brake Blocks||WAG|
|Train Modular Architecture||CCS|
|Interfaces between Rolling Stock and Fixed Installations||LOC&PAS
|Topical WG on Freight||WAG
|TWG on standardisation||All|
|TWG Transition and Migration||CCS|
Facts & context
Directive 2012/34/EU(the so-called “Recast Directive”) was adopted in November 2012 and aimed to simplify and consolidate the three Directives of the First Railway Package by merging them into a single text. In addition, the Recast Directive clarified existing provisions on funding and maintenance of infrastructure, access to rail-related facilities and the independence of regulatory bodies. Therefore, the Recast Directive has become one of the backbones of the European legal framework for railways.
EIM in action
- EIM advocated the interests of its members during the recast process, partially thanks to its involvement with the Platform of Rail Infrastructure Managers (PRIME);
- EIM monitors the work of the European Commission’s Single European Railway Area Committee (SERAC) and the Rail Interoperability and Safety Committee (RISC). EIM is also a recognised stakeholder in the EC Expert Group meetings.
- EIM is a member of the RNE Legal Matters Working Group and the RNE TTR Legal Taskforce where discussions regarding capacity allocation under Annex VII of Directive 2012/34/EU take place.
EIM actions in 2021
- EIM continued to monitor the discussions regarding Annex VII and its compatibility with the redesign of the international timetable process (‘TTR’) through the participation in the RNE TTR Legal Task Force.
- EIM will continue to give input to all initiatives of the European Commission and/or RNE relating to capacity allocation and timetabling. The Action Plan published by the Commission on the 14th of December 2021 announces some initiatives in the afore-mentioned fields.
Facts & Context
The Fourth Railway Package (4th RP) was adopted in 2016. It consists of a political and a technical pillar, each in turn consisting of three legislative acts. The 4th RP introduces new rules for the opening of domestic passenger transport, common rules for the normalisation of the accounts of Railway Undertakings (RUs), additional rules on safety (Directive 2016/798) and interoperability (Directive 2016/797), as well as providing for the reform of the European Railway Agency (Regulation 2016/796), which included changing its name to European Union Agency for Railways (ERA).
Since June 2019, ERA has acted as a “One-Stop-Shop” for safety certifications, vehicle authorisations and ERTMS track side approvals. This means that RUs and manufacturers can reduce costs and efforts by only having to submit their application to one single authority. This authority will then issue a safety certificate or a vehicle authorisation which is valid across the entire EU.
EIM in action
- EIM produced several legal analyses on the impact of the 4th RP for its members, and will continue to do so;
- EIM consolidated and advised its members on many aspects of the 4th RP: the economic equilibrium test, the role of the Platform of Rail Infrastructure Managers (PRIME), the improvement of the process of issuing safety certificates, the vehicle authorisation process, the new route compatibility checks as well as the ERTMS track side approvals and their related fees & charges, etc.;
- EIM gave substantial input to the sector guideline on the technical pillar of the 4th Railway Package;
- EIM continues to contribute to all amendments to the TSIs and Application Guides relating to the already known open points, error corrections and text adaptations as part of the revision processes carried out by the European Commission and ERA;
- EIM monitors the work of the ‘European Commission’s Single European Railway Area Committee’ (SERAC) and the ‘Rail Interoperability and Safety Committee’ (RISC);
- EIM is a member of the EC Expert Group related to the technical pillar of the 4th RP.
EIM actions in 2021
- EIM monitored, and where possible commented on, the work of the European Commission on the implementation of the political and the technical pillars of the 4th RP;
- EIM informed its members on the relevance of the 4th RP and its impact on their businesses;
- EIM established a constructive dialogue with all relevant rail actors regarding the 4th RP
- EIM will continue to closely monitor the implementation of the 4th RP.