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has been adopted on 8 July 2008


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18 October 2007


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What's new?

On 18 October 2007 the European Commission adopted a Communication to the Council and the European Parliament on monitoring development of the rail market COM(2007) 609. The Communication focuses on:

  • the regulatory and institutional framework created with a view to liberalizing the rail market and strengthening the position of railways as a safe and environmentally friendly mode of transport;

  • development of the rail market in terms of freight and passenger transport performance, intermodal comparison and market-opening indicators;

  • the financial performance of the sector, including information on the capacity, state of play and utilisation rate of rail infrastructure and on development of the supply industry.

The Communication is accompanied by a Commission Staff Working Document SEC(2007)1323 presenting a number of quantitative data on the development of rail market in individual Member States and the EU as a whole.


On 26 February 2001, the Council adopted three directives to allow a further opening of the European market for international freight transport by rail. These directives are also known as Rail Infrastructure Package or First Railway Package Directives (Directives 2001/12, 2001/13 and 2001/14, published in the Official Journal OJ J L75 of 15 March 2001). These measures aim at increasing international rail transport of freight by setting clear rules on e.g. the conditions under which railway undertakings can obtain licences and safety certificates; the framework for the allocation and charging of rail infrastructure capacity; the role and responsibility of Regulatory Bodies in the Member States and the separation of accounts for subsidised and non-subsidised activities. Furthermore, art. 10b (1) of directive 2001/12  provides that the Commission shall make the necessary arrangements to monitor ‘technical and economic conditions and market developments of European rail transport’. Monitoring the railway markets will provide an essential input to the Commission's report on the impact of the implementation in the Member States of the Infrastructure Package. This report was initially due for 15 March 2005, however, the adoption of the proposals submitted under the second railway package, in particular Directive 2004/51, rescheduled this date to 1 January 2006. This date coincides with the opening of the market for international freight transport by rail over the entire rail network in the enlarged European Union: any licenced railway undertaking having a safety certificate for the networks on which it wants to run transport operations can apply for capacity and offer international transport services by rail throughout the EU.

Report on the Implementation of the Infrastructure Package: Information requirements

Directive 91/440, as amended by the directives 2001/12 and 2004/51 provides that the Commission shall report by 1 January 2006 to the European Parliament and the Council on several issues in relation to the development of the European rail market, such as:

  • implementation of this Directive in the Member States and the effective working of the various bodies involved;

  • market development, in particular international traffic trends, activities and market share of all market actors, including new entrants;

  • impact on the overall transport sector, in particular as regards modal shift;

  • impact on the level of safety in each Member State,. working conditions in the sector, for each Member State.

If necessary, the report shall be accompanied by suitable proposals or recommendations on continuing Community action to develop the railway market and the legal framework governing it.

In order to address these issues, the following questions could be raised:

  • Market evolution: is competition increasing?; Are prices going down?; Is there a shift in the modal shift in favour of transport by rail?; Is the market for rail transport growing?; What are the actors which determine the market and what is their financial situation?;

  • Framework conditions of the access to the network: Have the directives been implemented and when? What are the framework conditions of the rail market and has open access been achieved?;

  • Technical condition of the railway network: What is the state of the railway network, notably the information as provided in the technical parts of the network statements;

  • The utilisation of access rights: How are these rights allocated? Has open access attracted other operators than the incumbent ones? Is the load factor prohibitive?, Are the available slots attractive? Are all the slots used? Does open access work: ie: does the number of train passengers and passenger-km increase and does a modal shift occur in favour of transport by rail?;

  • Barriers to more effective rail service: What are the barriers to entry to the railway markets in relation to technical limitations of the network or difficult access to training facilities for other than national staff?;

  • Infrastructure limitations: How are bottlenecks addressed? What are investments, or planned investments, to reduce infrastructure limitations?

  • Is there a need for new legislation on the basis of the market monitoring in relation to the effectiveness and efficiency of the goals set out in the directives, the common transport policy and the Treaty?

Outline of the Rail Market Monitoring Scheme (RMMS)

On the basis of the information requirements mentioned above,  a proposal for a Rail Market Monitoring Scheme (RMMS) has been elaborated, which should enable the Commission and interested parties to monitor the implementation of the directives in the Member States and to assess the impact of the new market conditions on all actors. It consists -inter alia- of these web pages with information on different aspects of the markets, such as passenger and freight rail transport developments, applicable legislation, the legal and administrative framework for the implementation of the community railway acquis, the available infrastructure, assets (rolling stock, locomotives), the number and names of licenced railway undertakings and information on the labour market. As this information will only become available on a step-by-step basis, this website will be regularly updated with new information.

The Commission is assisted in its tasks by a Working Group of experts from the transport Ministries of the Member States. This group helps the Commission in assessing the information requirements and data availability in relation to this market monitor. This Working Group has been set up under the Regulatory Committee created by Directive 2001/12, and is one of the so-called 'Comitology' Committees' of Member States' representatives assisting the Commission in the implementation of policies and legal measures that have been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. 

The Commission also requested an external consultant (Giventis - The Netherlands) to draft a proposal for the development of the Conceptual and Organisational Aspects of a Community Rail Market Monitoring Scheme (RMMS), to be set up to comply with the provisions of Directive 2001/12. The Market Monitoring Scheme is based on the proposals and suggestions made in this study, which can be downloaded from this website: Giventis Report (, 345 KB, only available in English: ).


last update: 15-12-2008