On 3 March 2004 the Commission adopted its "third rail package" containing measures to revitalise the railways in Europe. The European Commission puts forward new proposals to open up the international passenger transport market by 2010 and to regulate passenger rights and the certification of train crews. This third package should complete the European regulatory framework for the rail sector.
The third railway package adopted in October 2007 introduced open access rights for international rail passenger services including cabotage by 2010. Operators may pick up and set down passengers at any station on an international route, including at stations located in the same Member State. Furthermore, the third railway package introduced a European driver licence allowing train drivers to circulate on the entire European network (the certification of cross-border drivers is foreseen as from 2009 and of all other drivers as from 2011). The drivers will have to meet basic requirements concerning their educational level, age, physical and mental health, specific knowledge and practical training of driving skills. Last but not least, the third railway package strengthened the rail passengers' rights. While long-distance travellers will enjoy a wider range of rights, minimum quality standards (non-discrimination of handicapped travellers or persons with reduced mobility, liability in case of accidents, availability of train tickets and personal security of passengers in stations) will have to be guaranteed to all passengers on all lines.
Summaries of legislation
Directive 2007/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 amending Council Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of the Community’s railways and Directive 2001/14/EC on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure