After the meetings of the Boards of Directors of ADIF and ADIF Alta Velocidad the amendments of the Railway Network Statement were approved. In this document, a large part of the allegations made by railway companies and the National Commission on Markets and Competition have been taken into account.
The ADIF and ADIF Alta Velocidad (ADIF AV) Railway Network Statement is a document prepared annually by railway infrastructure administrators detailing the general rules, deadlines, procedure and criteria relating to charging systems and capacity allocation, as well as any information that may be relevant for submitting an infrastructure capacity application.
As this document is reviewed annually, the first update for 2019 took place in the past January, after which the different railway companies made their respective allegations which were sent to the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC) for it to pronounce on the modifications introduced with that update. Having received the allegations from the railway companies and the CNMC Agreement of 25 June 2019 issuing a report on the ADIF and ADIF AV proposals on the modification of the 2019 Railway Network Statement, the Boards of Directors of ADIF and ADIF AV approved the second update of this document.
This update has modified several points of the document related to the publication and entry into force of regulations on railway liberalisation and has updated the large figures of the railway network owned by Adif, infrastructure and circulation and the Catalogues of Service Installations and Station Hours. In addition, the following new documents have been added: (i) Annex P, Declaration of Framework Capacity and (ii) Catalogue of Services and Prices.
As one of the most important modifications, it is worth highlighting the one relating to the aforementioned Annex P, which details the mechanism finally chosen to promote the liberalisation of passenger transport in national traffic planned for the first service schedule on 14 December 2020 and to facilitate the access of new operators to the high-speed railway infrastructure. The system selected was that of the “Framework Capacity Offer” by the infrastructure administrator. The two concepts that have been taken into account to design this system are: (i) the capacity for the railway line circulation and (ii) the parking capacity at passenger transport stations. One of the problems with the current railway system is the parking capacity at the main passenger stations, which is why the offer of framework capacity is presented in the form of chained furrows that already provide for such parking capacity. This helps to optimise the use of passenger stations.
With regard to the duration of framework agreements, a maximum period of 10 years is established. However, any request exceeding 5 years must be justified on the basis of the existence of commercial contracts. It is also established that candidates may request the renewal of the agreements, that these must be submitted to the CNMC for approval and that they may be subject to subsequent modification.
Applicants must specify the specific request for furrows, differentiated by service hours and days of the week, which will serve as the basis for allocating or not the framework capacity. In the Declaration on the High Speed Network, a catalogue of axes corresponding to the lines and sections of the Spanish railway system has been compiled. The axes, in turn, are structured in three packages (A, B and C) which are associated with indicative timetables that ensure an adequate rotation of the railway rolling stock. Candidates will not be tied to requesting either all services or all axes within a package. The axes of the High Speed Network are the following:
- Madrid-Barcelona-the French border
- Madrid-Levante (Valencia and Alicante)
The deadline for the submission of capacity applications is the 31 October. Once the deadline for submitting applications has expired, the proposals received will be evaluated. The application of the candidate covering the largest number of days per furrow over a maximum period of 10 years (starting from 14 December 2020) will be awarded the capacity of a package. In the allocation of capacity, the possible existence of bids from related companies or companies belonging to the same group will be verified, so that preference is given in the allocation to the greatest number of different operators. This, with the aim of achieving the greatest possible plurality of operators. Thus, the packages will be resolved sequentially (A, B and C) and each candidate may only be awarded one package. At the end of the award process, if there is any remaining capacity, it may be offered to the candidates within the elaboration of the service timetable. In addition, penalties are foreseen for those cases in which the candidates do not use the allocated capacity in the development of the different services schedules.
With regard to the setting of fees, these are established by means of a budget law, which means that the amounts in force are reflected in Law 6/2018 of 3 July on the General State Budget for 2018, since no budget law has been passed for 2019. The establishment of the fees through this mechanism limits the capacity of infrastructure managers to set these amounts, and therefore ADIF and the Ministry of Public Works are jointly analysing the possibility of introducing legislative modifications that would allow the legal nature of the fees to change.
Finally, this update of the Railway Network Statement incorporates new concepts such as specialized lines, coordinated stations and congested facilities.
The deadline for the submission of capacity applications, as stated above, is the 31 October. ADIF will then announce the pre-allocation on the 15 December 2019 since the deadline for concluding framework agreements is the 15 March 2020.