Using Network Statements to improve rail infrastructure
A final report on the Best Practice Guide for Network Statements has been published:
The “open access” policy launched and implemented by the European Commission envisages “on track competition” among railway operators. The introduction of “market forces” in the rail sector requires, in that framework, easy and fair access to the information about the network. The relevance of providing comprehensive, up-to-date and open information stems, in particular, from:
- the need to provide all users with the same level of information (in a context where, typically, there is information asymmetry between the incumbent, i.e. the main national railway undertaking that has historically operated the rail services, and the newcomers)
- the need to efficiently use the often scarce resource represented by the rail capacity, that requires informing the likely users of the available capacity on each section / node of the network
- the need to implement
transparent and shared procedures for the
allocation of such capacity
In order to achieve the above mentioned objectives, Directive 2001/14/EC introduced the obligation for rail Infrastructure Managers to publish a Network Statement (NS). This document presents information on the network's rail infrastructure, and on commercial and legal access conditions. The Directive defined the basic requirements to be fulfilled by the NS.
NS are “key to market access”, since they summarise all relevant information on the rail infrastructure “product”: how to obtain access to it, what are its characteristics (in the different sections of the network), how much of it is available (i.e. the infrastructure capacity), what is the timing for requesting it, what is its price, etc.
An implementation guide for drafting Network Statements (NS) in accordance with Article 3 of Directive 2001/14/EC was developed by RailNetEurope. The Association of German Transport Companies (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen - VDV) also prepared recommendations for the presentation of both network access’ conditions and terms of the use of service facilities.
The European Commission was informed by Regulatory Bodies that information provided in the NS is not always aligned to the requirements of the Directive 2001/14/EC. In particular, frequently NS do not encompass exhaustive information with regard to charges (methodology for calculation, rules, scales, discounts) and rail related services provided on the network(mainly those provided at the borders).
The objectives of this study for DG-TREN are to analyse the existing level of implementation of provisions set by Directive 2001/14/EC and to develop recommendations for drafting Railway Network Statements, based also on the analysis of existing best practices.