Access Working Group

The IRG-Rail has an important role when it comes to developing a consistent regulatory practice across Europe. Passengers and freight customers and market players rely on a consistent and harmonised application of the regulatory framework across Europe.

The Access Working Group focuses on all aspects of access to railway infrastructure with respect to the needs of passenger and freight customers, the promotion of competition and improved rail performance. At the present the main priorities are:

Rail freight corridors


The Regulation (EU) No 913/2010 initiated the implementation of a European rail network for competitive freight consistent with the trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). It sets out rules e.g. for the selection, organisation and management of the freight corridors. Six of these corridors are operable since November 2013, the three remaining followed in November 2015.

IRG-Rail is involved in related regulatory tasks as creating common approaches to all corridor issues, e.g. the establishment of new frameworks for the allocation of infrastructure capacity (Art. 14(1) of the Regulation) and the establishment of corridor agreements or common rules for monitoring C-OSS (Art. 20 of the Regulation).

A challenging topic is the handling of multi-corridor issues. Where corridors are connected or railway undertakings use different corridors on their way to their destination, rules of cooperation and coordination between stakeholders have to be established in a harmonized and non-discriminatory way. Capacity shall be available for all RUs according to their needs.

The IRG-Rail will:

  • seek to secure that necessary rules of the national network statements will be reflected in the CID;
  • continue with the exchange on the monitoring of Corridor OSS (especially for those corridors established in 2013);
  • discuss regulatory tasks and powers regarding framework for capacity allocation;
  • support cooperation agreements between regulators, especially proceed to a review and adaptation of corridor agreements in the case of multi-corridor issues and of the extension of rail freight corridors or of arrangements on the basis of Article 57 (2) of Directive 2012/34/EU.

Implementing acts, especially framework agreements


The Directive 2012/34/EU enables the European Commission to adopt several implementing acts on differing aspects. IRG-Rail will follow the actions of the European Commission, address relevant topics and play an active part on the European level in access issues.

The topic of framework agreements and the implementing act as per Article 42 (8) of the Directive have been discussed with the European Commission and other stakeholders since 2013. For the time being no consensus could be reached. As framework agreements are an important instrument for the railway market IRG-Rail will follow the discussions on the European level, share its views and provide input.

The IRG-Rail will:

  • continue following the process of the implementing act on framework agreements;
  • continue following the process of the implementing acts on all other access issues.

Liberalisation of the rail passenger market


The market for international rail passenger transport has been opened in 2010. Railway undertakings were given the right to operate on an international level, including the possibility of carrying passengers on national sub-routes (“cabotage”) as from 1 January 2010. Nevertheless those transports still have a small market share. The 4th railway package addresses i.a. with the awarding of public service obligations the existing barriers for new passenger services and for the different preconditions for incumbents and new entrants. The 4th railway package therefore aims at creating the preconditions for more competition on the rail passenger market. Therewith connected access issues will be addressed by the Working Group Access.

The IRG-Rail will:

  • exchange views and provide initial input on measures for facilitating access of international passenger services;
  • make suggestions on how to improve competition in international passenger market.
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