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European legislation is becoming increasingly important for the daily operations of the railway community. In the past, the national railway companies were, to a large extent, self-regulated entities – that is business units, state regulators and supervisory authorities all at the same time.
Today the rules of the game have fundamentally changed. In all European countries, rail markets have been opened to competition, at least with regard to freight transport. The calendar of market opening for international passenger transport is already fixed. Therefore the legal framework for railway activities in the 21st century is largely defined by European law.
The primary purpose of this book is to serve as a legal reference to current European law within the rail market: Part II provides these legal texts. Given the constraint on space, however, we focus on the major pieces of legislation adopted.
The secondary purpose of this book is to review the context within which the law applies. Part I provides a brief commentary on the development of European rail law. It aims to give a non-technical overview of the context within which rail legislation has evolved. It should help the reader to gain an understanding of the central objectives of particular legislation.