The first TSIs were published in 2002, covering a limited number of subsystems. Their scope was confined to high speed railway lines on the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). The process was completed with the publication of the operation and traffic management TSI (OPE TSI) in June 2015, the last of the TSIs to be revised to extend its scope to cover the whole mainline railway.

TSIs are subject to periodic amendment by the European Railway Agency, responding to mandates issued by the European Commission. In future, amendments are expected to take place on a three-year cycle. This page briefly describes the process for amending a TSI, and the roles of those involved in the process.

Developing and amending TSIs

The development process for TSIs is set out in the Interoperability Directive. The key stages in the process for development of a TSI are: 

  1. European Commission issues a mandate to ERA to revise TSIs (in the form of a Commission Decision)
  2. ERA draft the text of the revised TSIs, with input from sector organisations (bodies representing sectors of the rail industry at European level such as The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM), the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE) and national safety authorities (NSAs) through ‘working parties’ (committees established for the purpose, analogous to Standards Committees, but without formal decision making authority).
  3. ERA consult Social Partners (including workers’ and employers’ organisations) on the draft TSIs.
  4. The Railway Interoperability and Safety Committee (RISC), made up of the representatives of member states, are asked to provide an opinion on the draft TSI (commonly referred to as ‘voting’).
  5. If the RISC opinion is favourable, the TSI is brought into force by a Commission Regulation (in the past, a Decision). The TSI itself forms an Annex to the Regulation. A regulation is directly applicable in a member state without the need for transposition. 
  6. Member States are notified (by formal letter) of the Regulation.
  7. The Regulation is published in the Official Journal (OJ) of the European Union.
  8. The TSI comes into force on a specified date after publication of the Regulation in the OJ, normally 20 days after publication (this is the date from which the TSI can be complied with).
  9. The Regulation will specify the date from which the TSI will apply (the date by which it must be complied with).

The diagram below illustrates the organisations and tasks involved in the development of TSIs (click to enlarge).  It should be noted that the diagram is not a process chart.

Roles in developing TSIs

How the GB mainline rail industry influences the content of TSIs

At an early stage in the development of a TSI, the Industry Standards Coordination Committee (ISCC), advised by Standards Committees and, where they have been established, GB TSI Mirror Groups (sub-committees of Standards Committees), approves a ‘strategic direction’ to guide GB representatives involved with the development of TSIs. The strategic directions are a statement of the GB industry’s aspirations for the development of the TSI concerned. Current strategic directions can be found through the ISCC page of this website.

The various sector organisations recognised by the European Commission have established support groups to develop sector positions on the TSIs as they are developed. Each sector organisation can nominate two speakers to represent them on the ERA working parties. The speakers will take direction from their organisations’ support group.

Support groups include GB representatives, sponsored by the GB organisations who are members of the relevant sector organisation. For example, ATOC is a member of CER; Network Rail is a member of EIM: and RIA is an associate of UNIFE. Occasionally a GB representative is nominated as a speaker. When requested, RSSB is able to provide an expert to attend support group meetings on behalf of a sponsoring organisation. The RSSB representative will seek industry views through Standards Committees and GB TSI Mirror Groups, and the views of the GB sponsoring organisation.

ORR, as the NSA for GB, is entitled to representation on ERA working parties. Again, when requested, RSSB is able to provide an expert to attend ERA working parties on ORR’s behalf.

Preparing for meetings of the Railway Interoperability and Safety Committee (RISC)

The DfT representative at RISC needs to be aware of the views of all sectors of the industry, to be able to form a position on how to ‘vote’ on the TSI at RISC. DfT have available a number of channels through which they can receive the views of industry:

  • Standards Committees and GB TSI Mirror Groups, facilitated by RSSB. DfT is invited to provide observers at the meetings of these committees. 
  • The ORR, which has representatives on ERA TSI Working Parties.
  • RSSB experts.
  • Responses from industry to DfT Interoperability News Flashes, which the DfT uses to circulate copies of RISC meeting agendas and papers for decision.

Guidance for those involved in the development of TSIs

ISCC has approved a Guide for persons involved in the development of TSIs for GB industry so they are aware of the process before they get involved in this work.

The intent of the guidance is to capture, in a single place, all of the necessary background information that someone involved in drafting a TSI should know (or point them towards other reference documents) so they are informed before they start work. However, it is a rather long document and thus may be difficult to refer to on a frequent basis. For that reason, ISCC has approved a short two-page Checklist for TSI development setting out factors to bear in mind when working on a TSI.

To complement the ‘Guide for persons involved in the development of TSIs’, ISCC has also approved a Technical checklist for TSIs covering structural sub-systems (Infrastructure, Energy, Rolling Stock, Control-Command and Signalling), intended to ensure, as far as possible, that the technical review of TSIs and Specific Cases is thorough.