Order FOM/167/2015, regulating the commissioning of structural subsystems, railway lines and rail vehicles.

Written on 4 Mar 2015

The Ministry of Development establishes: the conditions regarding structural subsystems when acting either individually or in groups in both railway lines and rail vehicles to be placed in the Railway System of General Interest (RSGI); the procedure regulating the entry or commissioning of structural subsystems, railway lines and rail vehicles; and the applicable fees for the commissioning of rolling stock for rail vehicles.

Order FOM/167/2015 has represented a major step towards the process of liberalization of the rail passenger transport service. The Ministry of Development has supplemented previous regulation regarding the approval process of rolling stock. In particular, the Order develops articles 10 and 16 of the Royal Decree nº 1434/2010, of 5th November on the interoperability of the rail system of the RSGI, regulating with more precision the entry conditions on both, structural subsystems and rail vehicles.

Furthermore the Order establishes the authorization procedure for the free movement of rail vehicles, when they have already been authorized in one Member State. This is highly relevant for the future bidders of the legal entitlement that will grant the possibility to operate the rail passenger transport service in the “Levante Corridor“.

It must be emphasized that the Order regulates, for the first time, the responsibility of railway undertakings regarding the train formation and its technical compatibility with the route (article 24). These obligations shall apply to the successful tenderer.

The Order is structured in the following terms:

1. The establishment of requirements that must follow structural subsystems when acting either individually or in groups in both railway lines and rail vehicles to be placed in Railway System of General Interest service.

2. The regulation dealing the process of authorization of placing or putting into service the structural subsystems, lines and railway vehicles. In this regard:

  • Structural subsystems: Title IV of the Order establishes that the responsible authority for the railway safety shall be competent for granting an authorization when the requirements of safety, health, and protection of the environment held in Annex III of the Royal Decree 1434/2010 are fulfilled.  The authorization procedure is divided in three phases: (i) the initial phase, consisting of the prior communication to the competent authority responsible for the railway safety; (ii) the subsystem evaluation process, in accordance with the applicable technical specifications for interoperability (TSI); and (iii) the subsequent authorization for putting into service.
  • Lines: Title V of the Order differentiates two procedures depending on: (i) whether it is a placing in service in accordance with article 16 of the Royal Decree 2387/2004, of December 30; or (ii) modifications of existing lines for which the provision requires the processing of a new authorization of placing into service, with some specific exceptions.
  • Rail Vehicles: Insofar as the vehicles are composed by subsystems, Title IV of the Order shall apply. Moreover, before being used in RSGI, all vehicles must be authorized for its putting into service by the authority responsible for the railway safety. The Order establishes procedures for handling authorizations of putting into service in accordance with the following specialties: (i) first authorization of a vehicle or new type; (ii) additional authorization when the vehicle has already been authorized in a first Member State; (iii) authorization of a vehicle in conformity with a type that is already authorized; (iv) renewal of the type; (v) new authorization following the modifications; and (vi) the combination of the previous assumptions. In this sense, Title VII of the Order regulates the inspection regime, as well as the suspension and revocation of the subsystem and vehicle authorizations when the essential requirements concerning operation and maintenance under which they were granted are not complied with. The authority responsible for the railway safety will be the competent authority in these matters.

3. The applicable fees on materials used in the trains when putting them into service. Finally, this Order states the fees levied on the certification of materials used in the following vehicles: (i) locomotives; (ii) self-propelled vehicles; (iii) passenger carriages; (iv) wagons; and (v) auxiliary materials. This fee will be applicable in the abovementioned vehicles according to a chargeable event, depending on the first authorization, modification or series continuation (article 29).