German legislative schedule for the rail sector

Category: contract law Industry: railway Author: Year:
Railway Gestezgebung Bahnindustrie

Background

The protagonists of the German railway industry – at least at legislative level – are currently going through difficult times. With the recently published 'Railway Commissioning Authorisation Regulation' (EIGV), which has superseded the previous 'Transeuropean Railway Interoperability Regulation' (TEIV), and with the new European Authorisation Regulation (EU) 2018/545, which is just round the corner, the rail sector has precious little certainty in terms of planning and legal compliance about what is actually going to apply in Germany in the years ahead. Against this backdrop, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) has decided to draw up an overview of the current and forthcoming legislative initiatives of the federal government for the German railway sector.

Legislative initiatives of the BMVI 

The overview contains a total of six legislative initiatives which are either imminent or already in progress. The BMVI is currently engaged on them for the railway sector.

1. Second Regulation on Amendments to Appendices F and G of the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF)

The aim of the amendments to Appendices F and G is to cater to the new versions of the European Interoperability Directive (EU) 2016/797 and the Railway Safety Directive (EU) 2016/798. Because of the accession of the EU to COTIF and because all EU member states with a rail network are also members of COTIF, it is necessary to adapt and harmonise the German legal position. Implementation has to be completed by 1 March 2019, so the consultation with the federal states and associations concerned may be expected in the near future.

2. Fifth Act on the Amendment of the General Railway Act (AEG) (5th AEG Amendment Act)

The aim of this law is to bring to an end the proceedings for breach of contract relating to Directives 2004/49/EC and 2008/57/EC (on the matter of the possibility of derogation for regional railways). It was originally planned as the 10th Act on the Amendment of Regulations of Railway Law and in fact already submitted in 2017. However, because of the federal parliamentary elections and the ensuing formation of the government, the project was delayed. It is now expected to come into force at the beginning of 2019.

3. Fourteenth Regulation on the Amendment of Regulations of Railway Law (14th ERÄV)

On the one hand, this project involves the amendment of the Railway Accident Investigation Regulation (EUV); on the other, in anticipation of the comprehensive implementation of Directive (EU) 2016/798, an amendment is being made to the Railway Safety Regulation (ESiV). Furthermore, other statutory amendments for the termination of proceedings for breach of contract with the European Union are also being addressed. The draft bill has already gone through the process of internal consultation, so that the consultation with the federal states and associations concerned is currently being held.

4. Regulation on the Approbation and Deployment of Expert Examiners

This draft contains the Expert Railway Examiners Regulation (EPSV), with which the legal prerequisites for the approbation and monitoring of expert examiners are being created, and the Regulation on the Examination of Expert Railway Examiners, which contains rules covering the examination of expert examiners as part of the approbation procedure. The consultation with the federal states and associations concerned has been set for the autumn of 2018.

5. New version of the Railway Signal Ordinance (ESO)

The ESO is being revised completely with a view to harmonisation. Its familiar structure is being changed, so that it will in future contain a rules section and an appendix with the technical descriptions. The draft is currently being discussed in various working groups and on various committees.

6. Implementation of the technical pillar of the 4th Railway Package

Above all, the implementation of the technical pillar means the implementation of the new Interoperability Directive (EU) 2016/797 and the new Railway Safety Directive (EU) 2016/798. The EIGV needs to be adapted for this, since the vehicle section is covered in the new European Authorisation Regulation (EU) 2018/545. Work on the ministerial draft bill is already being done, as implementation has to be completed by June 2019, unless Germany suspends it until 2020.

Important for users

To avoid unpleasant surprises and thus also considerable additional costs, it is important and necessary for all the protagonists concerned to obtain an overview of the forthcoming statutory amendments in good time, and to take sufficient account of them in contractual negotiations and project planning.

[November 2018]