ALL ABOARD! New agreement to smooth rail travel in europe

Sophia Antipolis, 11th May 2007

European standards organizations sign Memorandum of Understanding with European Railways Association (ERA).

European railways have been moving goods and people since the 19th Century. As Europe gets bigger and more complex, rail transport becomes only more important. In an important landmark on the road to an integrated European railway area, the heads of the three European Standards Organizations (ESOs) CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the European Railway Agency yesterday.

Dr Juan Lopez Agui, President of CEN, Dr Ulrich Spindler, President of CENELEC, Mr John Phillips, Nortel, Chairman of the ETSI General Assembly and Mr M. Verslype, Executive Director of ERA, all put their signatures to this document clarifying the relations between ERA and the ESOs regarding the political and technical framework for cooperation for European Standardization in the field of railway. This MoU will improve the specifications for interoperability on the vast European Rail Network. Each of the ESOs has a history of ensuring rail travel in Europe is safe and efficient.


The GSM specification for telecommunications has been adopted as the GSM-R standard by the International Union of Railways. It is currently the European Standard for railway communications, used in all European Union Member States. The ETSI Railway Telecommunications Technical Committee (ETSI RT) has recently had a meeting with the ERA in ETSI premises. Future ETSI RT specification work will seek cooperation and participation from the ERA.


CENELEC's 'Electrical and electronic applications for railways' and its subgroups have for years actively responded to the needs of the Directives for the Railway sector. Indeed, CENELEC has contributed to the Interoperability Directive for Highspeed Rail through the direct reference to CENELEC European standards. With the production of standards supporting the Conventional Rail Interoperability Directive, CENELEC is also contributing to the harmonization of national and regional networks in Europe. 


There are over 50 major manufacturers, infrastructure owners and operators in the mechanical part of the Rail sector. These organizations employ over 150,000 workers in the EU. There are also hundreds of smaller suppliers and other SME's employing a similar number of people who provide goods and services to the larger players in the Industry. All of these players adhere to CENs over 100 safety and quality standards. This is a key factor in the maintenance of rail travels impressive safety record in Europe.

This MoU will further the process of simplifying the lives of railway users, employees and operators in Europe.


Notes to editors

About ETSI

ETSI unites almost 700 member organizations from 63 countries, including manufacturers, network operators, administrations, service providers, research bodies and users - in fact, all the key players in the ICT Standards arena.

For more information:

About the European standards organizations

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) are the three officially responsible European standardization bodies that help shape the European Internal Market.

CEN and CENELEC are based in Brussels (Belgium) and ETSI is located in Sophia Antipolis (France). CENELEC deals with the standardization of products and services in the fields of electricity, electronics and associated technologies, ETSI with telecommunications, broadcasting and related areas; CEN covers all other industry and service sectors.

Between them, the three organizations work with over 70.000 experts from industry and societal and environmental interest groups who develop European Standards and other specifications for more than 480 million people.

Detailed information available at  -  -

For further information about this news release, please contact:

Kevin FLYNN,
ETSI Press co-ordinator
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 94 42 58
E-mail: [email protected].