FTE Plenary Assembly in Spiez

Forum Train Europe held its Plenary Assembly today in Spiez, discussing crucial matters impacting the European railway industry. The assembly witnessed productive deliberations on key topics and confirmed the position of the European Railway Undertakings for discussions with other sector stakeholders.

In a first part, the statutory affairs of the association were treated. FTE members reviewed and approved the association's financial statement for the year 2023. The transparency and sound management of FTE's finances was acknowledged, leading to the discharge of the board. Additionally, the budget for the year 2025 was unanimously approved, demonstrating the commitment of FTE to effectively allocate resources for the benefit of its members.

Subsequently, several key topics were discussed among them the Draft Capacity Regulation, the TCR Approach and Commercial Conditions.

The FTE members follow carefully the Capacity Management Regulation proposed by the European Commission and currently in the legislative process. While FTE members welcomed the initial proposal, the outcome of the legislative process remains unclear. FTE members agreed on a statement asking for consistent involvement of Railway Undertakings.

Concerning the approach for track works which impact the traffic (temporary capacity restrictions, TCR), FTE members are discussing an improved process for the planning of the so-called RUN part, i.e. how to plan or replan affected train paths. The approach so far developed by the TCR Working Group was approved.

Commercial Conditions shall apply, if either Railway Undertakings or Infrastructure Managers cannot keep their commitments after capacity was allocated. The FTE Community approved cornerstones for an RU position in upcoming discussion with Infrastructure Managers and other stakeholders involved in this matter.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Karol Martinček, the former Executive Board Member, delivered a farewell speech to the assembled representatives, announcing his departure from the Executive Board. In his address Karol Martinček stated: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the entire FTE community for the good collaboration and for their trust to elect me to the FTE Executive Board. It bought me great joy that I could contribute towards representing interests of Railway Undertakings during this crucial period.”

FTE President Philipp Mäder shared his insights on the meeting, stating, "Today's discussions revolved around crucial matters that are currently under deliberation at the European level. The FTE members demonstrated a strong consensus on these topics, including statements on the proposed capacity management Regulation, the significance of a well-defined process for re-planning train paths affected by TCRs, and the importance of establishing reciprocal Commercial Conditions. It is noteworthy that these decisions were reached with an overwhelming majority from both passenger and freight members, underscoring the collective commitment of Railway Undertakings in Europe to find common solutions that ultimately benefit their respective customers."