Vehicle before a new or modified railway vehicle is permitted to operate on the EU railway network it must be authorised by European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) or Croatian Railway Safety Agency (NSA-HR). An authorisation is granted for a vehicle and/or vehicle type (vehicle type authorisation) or for individual vehicles that conform to an already authorised vehicle type (vehicle authorisation for placing on the market).

The authorisation process allows the authorising entity (ERA or NSA-HR) to achieve a reasonable assurance that the applicant and the other entities involved in the design, manufacture, verification and validation of the vehicle and/or vehicle type have fulfilled their obligations and responsibilities, in order to ensure that the vehicle and/or vehicle type conforms to the applicable laws. When performing VA procedures, the applicant should take into account provisions in accordance with chapter IX. VEHICLES of national Safety and Interoperability of the Railway System act (SIRS act).

When identifying relevant rules, the applicant should take into account the relevant Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs), TSI LOC&PAS TSI (Commission Regulation (EU) 1302/2014), the applicable national rules and other applicable Union laws.

A vehicle and/or vehicle type authorisation is valid for a defined area of use, i.e. a network or networks within one or more Member States where the vehicle may be used. A further authorisation is required if changes are made to the area of use (SIRS Act, article 74 – Extension of the area of use for already approved vehicles), and may also be required if changes are made to an authorised vehicle and/or vehicle type (Renewed or refurbished vehicles in line to article 73 of SIRS act) – application file has to be submitted in line to Article 69. (4) and to use procedure in line to article 70 of SIRS act.

In accordance to article 78 (5) of SIRS act a vehicle or series of vehicles which conform to a type already authorised shall be authorised on the basis of a declaration of conformity (“EZ” declaration) to this type submitted by the applicant without further checks.

Who can apply for a vehicle authorisation?

The applicant for vehicle authorisation is the legal person requesting an authorisation. The law does not impose a restriction on who can play the role of applicant: it can be a railway undertaking, an infrastructure manager, a manufacturer, an owner or a keeper.

How do I make an application?

Applicants should read the Commission Implementing Regulation establishing practical arrangements for the authorisation process (EU) 2018/545 and the related ERA guidance, which provides information about the legislation, application process and what is required from the applicant. In addition, in case when the National Safety Authority (NSA-hr) is the authorising entity, please follow the National guide for the vehicle authorisation.

The application is made to the authorising entity. The process is however the same no matter if the ERA or the National Safety Authority (NSA-HR) is the authorising entity (single European process). In the case of vehicles and/or vehicle types to be operated in more than one Member State, the ERA will be the authorising entity. Otherwise the applicant can choose whether to apply to the ERA or to the relevant NSA.

All applications for authorisation of a vehicle and/or vehicle type must be electronically submitted through the One-Stop Shop (OSS).This includes vehicles and/or vehicle types to be authorised for the first time (new design), changes to already authorised vehicles and/or vehicle types, extensions of the area of use, vehicles in conformity to an already authorised type and renewed vehicle type authorisation.

Applicants can also submit a “pre-engagement” application, which is optional for the applicant but mandatory for the authorising entity and/or the NSAs concerned with the area of use, on request of the applicant. The “pre-engagement” covers all prior formal exchanges of information between the applicant, the authorising entity, the concerned NSAs and other interested parties, before the actual submission of the application for authorisation. This allows the applicant to obtain an opinion from the authorising entity concerning the approach proposed by the applicant at an early stage of the process.

NSA´s rates relevant for establishing the costs charged to the NSA-HR, please see National guide.

If you are a potential applicant and wish to follow a training session on the OSS organised by the Agency in its Headquarter of Valenciennes, please consult the OSS Training guidelines.

Where can I find the decision about my application?

All decisions following an application for authorisation of a vehicle type or a vehicle can be found in the One-Stop Shop (OSS). The applicant can only access information relating to its own applications.

After its authorisation the vehicle type information is made publicly available through the European Register of Authorised Vehicle Types (ERATV). Certain documents forming part of the authorisation process are also made publicly available through the European Railway Agency Database of Interoperability and Safety (ERADIS).

When does the new authorisation regime apply?

The new authorisation regime applies as of 16 June 2020 with transitional provisions when the “new” SIRS act comes to force.

Transitional provisions apply in the case where a National Safety Authority (NSA-HR) recognises that it will not be able to take its decision over the issue of a vehicle (type) authorisation before 16 June 2020 in accordance with the old SIRS act (Directive 2008/57/EC). In such a case, the NSA-HR has to promptly inform the applicant and the Agency in line with article 1 of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/781. The vehicle (type) authorisation will be issued by the selected authorising entity (i.e. the Agency or the relevant NSA-HR).

The Agency, when acting as authorising entity, will take into account the results of the assessment carried out by the NSAs in order to avoid any duplication of assessment and so, minimise the inconvenience for the applicant. In that respect, the Agency and the NSA will assist the applicant, upon its request, to supplement the application file with additional evidence necessary to comply with the additional requirements introduced by the new legal framework. The Agency and the NSA will also cooperate and coordinate for assessing the application file.

Documents and legal acts in relation to VA can be also accessible directly via ERA pages.

National guide for the vehicle authorisation.