Helping the supply chain tackle interoperability issues
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We have developed a national procedure to help suppliers of components customised for local markets, still comply with TSIs.

Some types of component, which form part of a larger, recognised product such as a train or infrastructure, need to comply with European legislation and declared ‘interoperable’, so that the bigger product it’s destined for can meet essential requirements for areas such as safety, reliability and technical compatibility.

These are known as ‘interoperability constituents’ and examples include pantographs, brakes, wheels, a driver’s seat, horns and headlamps.  This means the certificates permitting these ‘ICs’ are valid across the EU, aiming to reduce barriers to trade.

However, issues can emerge when a country has a specific requirement to do something different to the TSI, perhaps because of a local difference in technical spec.  This would make it unsuitable for use across the EU rail system and so may not be able to gain the necessary EC certificate for conformity, with no alternative way to validate it. 

To address this, we have developed a national procedure for companies to follow, to use in situations where an IC is being introduced into the UK market but not elsewhere in the EU, and so not needing to conform with the EU-level requirements.

This is supported by Department for Transport who asked us to develop an approach following the European Railway Agency’s technical opinion (ERA/OPI/2015-2) which concluded that a Member State can define its own domestic assessment procedures where an IC is not destined for use across the EU.

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