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Ricardo to bring extra clarity to EU rail vehicle authorisation process

Ricardo Certification has been appointed by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) to oversee the enhancement of the industry’s guide to the vehicle authorisation process.

Ricardo to bring extra clarity to EU rail vehicle authorisation process

The new advice, to be added to the ‘Guidelines for the practical arrangements for the vehicle authorisation process’ (ERA-PRG-005/02-361 v1.0), will bring coherence to the requirements capture process undertaken by applicants seeking authorisation for their vehicles to enter into service.

Ricardo Certification will also provide additional guidance for authorisation entities, such as National Safety Authorities (NSAs), and for Assessment Bodies, the independent parties who assess the safety risk process applied during a project.

The new guidance will bring more efficiency and consistency to the approval of rail vehicles across EU Member States.

New clarity to the vehicle approvals process
The 4th Railway Package, which took effect in 2016, introduced legislation to support a more open and competitive single market for rail services across Member States (the Single European Railway Area), including a consistent process for vehicle authorisations.

All new or modified rail vehicles must be authorised by an appropriate authority before they can be placed on the market. This is to ensure all parties involved in the design, manufacture and verification of the vehicle fulfilled their responsibilities correctly and in line with applicable laws.

Authorisation for vehicles to be used in more than one EU Member State is overseen by the ERA, whilst authorisations for vehicles that will be used within a single Member State can choose whether to apply to ERA or the relevant NSA.

In each case, the current guidance documents details a consistent approach to be used by all authorising entities. However, additional clarity of the requirements capture process would help provide assistance on the process for applicants and regulators alike.

Following extensive research of applicable EU legislation, Ricardo Certification will draft new guidance for the vehicle applicants on how to perform the requirements capture stage (including practical examples) and set out what to include in their submission. The guidance and templates will extend across various authorisation scenarios, such as 'First authorisations' and 'Extended area of use'.

This new material for the applicants will be accompanied by additional guidance for Assessment Bodies on how they should evaluate the process performed by applicant, and new clarifications for authorising entities and NSAs offering examples on the extent of checks they are required to perform.

The final text is due to be submitted to the ERA for distribution across the industry by the end of Summer 2021.

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