ERFA / Strategy / Working groups

Working groups

Delivering technical competence

ERFA regularly provides input and technical expertise to the regulatory process via working groups established by the European Railway Agency and/or the European Commission.

ERFA actively participates in the following working groups:

FFG – Freight Focus Group, ERA The Freight Focus Group was established in 2013 as a working party and is chaired by ERA (Safety Unit). The participants are representatives from the sector associations (ERFA, CER, UIP, UIRR etc.) and National Safety Authorities.

The main objectives are:
  • to provide a platform for the various stakeholders to discuss and commonly agree on vehicle related safety and maintenance issues aiming in particular to avoid that actions are taken on national level as they have the potential to hamper cross-border freight traffic
  • issuing requirements for the development of standards and other voluntary industry measures on maintenance of railway vehicles
  • supporting the Agency for preparing the revision of the ECM regulation 445/2011 and subsequent accreditation schemes.
CoCB - Cooperation of Certification Bodies, ERA The ERA working group “Cooperation of Certification Bodies was established in September 2012 and is chaired by ERA (Safety Unit). It shall serve as a forum for Certification Bodies, NSAs and sector associations (e.g. ERFA) and covers issues related to the ECM certification for vehicles.

The main objectives are:
  • issuing clarifications and recommendations on the certification procedures for ECM
  • analysing and answering to any doubts or problems that may arise during application of the certification scheme
  • maintaining a transparent legal framework for accreditation as a tool to develop trust and confidence in conformity assessment and mutual recognition in the corresponding results.

In 2014 a dedicated task force on “a common framework for assessing the capability of certified ECMs to manage their contractors” (e.g. ECM providing sub functions) was established.
RVRR - Rationalisation of Vehicle Related Registers, ERA One result of the “Study on Coherence and Consistency of Registers” which was supported by various stakeholders and published in 2012 by ERA showed that there is a need for rationalisation of the various vehicle related registers in order to improve efficiency and remove duplication of data.

The main objective of the 2013 established working group, chaired by ERA, is to draft an Agency Recommendation consolidating the various registers in a single system and giving consideration to the problems reported by the stakeholders and recorded in the 2012 Study.
Taskforce on Single Safety Certificate, RISC The development and implementation of the Single Safety Certificate (SSC) for railway undertakings has been a long term objective according to the principles identified in the Railway safety directive 2004/49/EC. Since several workstreams of ERA Safety Unit are linked to the achievement of the SSC, a programme management approach is needed to ensure the right momentum.

A Task Force shall drive the programme towards its successful delivery: it will be provided with the information collected from the various related projects of the Agency and contribute to monitoring the efficiency of the overall programme. Member States, NSAs, the sector (e.g. ERFA) and railway undertakings shall be represented.
SERAC Expert Group on Noise, DG Move The Working Group was established in 2011 and the main objective is to develop harmonized noise differentiated track access charges to be implemented on a voluntary basis by those Member States who believe that such schemes help to mitigate noise emitting from rail freight wagons in short and mid-term. The Group is chaired by DG MOVE and attended by representatives from Member States and Switzerland (e.g. Ministries of Transport), NGOs and sector representatives (e.g. ERFA, CER, UIP).

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ERFA's presentation at the first annual IRG-Rail Forum

At the first annual IRG Rail Forum ERFA gave an overview of the Rail

Freight Corridors from a freight RUs perspective.

The concerns of RUs were presented, highlighting the lack of joint agreement on performance indicators among IMs; the limited coordination on infrastructure works and investments and the lack of provision of appropriate alternatives during TCRs.

The EU legislation establishing the rail freight corridors is too weak on performance objectives and the voluntary initiatives undertaken are not legally binding, limiting the progress of the corridors.

Market oriented KPIs and data would improve the efficiency of the Corridors, potentially attracting more customers and so becoming more attractive to investments. 

Last but not least we need much more coordination and cooperation among IMs. Contingency plans, coordination of works along the lines, alternative routes in case of disruption. We need to be prepared in emergency situations..and to learn lessons from RASTATT!

Rail customers are losing patience….all the efforts made in the past could be for nothing if the RFCs do not make significant progress in performance.



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