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Frequently Asked Questions

C-OSS - General Information

1. What is the Corridor One-Stop-Shop?

The Corridor One-Stop Shop (C-OSS) is a joint body which has been designated by the infrastructure managers and allocation body along the Corridor to manage in a single place and in a single operation path requests for freight trains crossing at least one border along the corridor (according to Article 13 of EU Regulation 913/2010).

On RFC Rhine-Alpine DB Netz has been appointed to execute this task on behalf of the infrastructure managers and allocation body along the corridor for timetables within the period 2015 to 2017.

2. What is Path Coordination System?

The “Path Coordination System” (PCS) is an internet-based application for handling international path requests provided by RailNetEurope. PCS is the mandatory tool for all path requests on pre-arranged paths and reserve capacity addressed to the Corridor One-Stop-Shop. 

3. Where can I find more information about it and get for a free account in PCS?

All information about PCS can be found under http://pcs.rne.eu
Content Management System (CMS) http://cms.rne.eu/pcs/documentation provides explanation, support and trainings on PCS. Additionally, you may contact RNE support or your Corridor One-Stop-Shop for any more detailed aid.

4. Who is responsible for complaints related to the Corridor One-Stop-Shop?

According to the cooperation agreement between the regulatory bodies situated in the countries along RFC Rhine-Alpine the Regulatory Body (RB) responsible for taking a decision in the event of a complaint regarding the Corridor One-Stop-Shop is as follows:

  • Should the RBs of the Corridor jointly come to the conclusion that the cause of complaint is related to just one country the responsible Regulatory Body is the competent Regulatory Body for that country.
  • For other cases the RBs involved in the Corridor have agreed the responsibility should be held by one of them on behalf of all. In this case the Bundesnetzagentur in Germany has been appointed to fulfil this task.

PaP Offer and Path Request Management

1. What is a Pre-arranged path (PaP)?

A pre-arranged path is an international pre-constructed path based on standard parameters for rail freight and offered by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop on the basis of Articles 13 and 14 of EU Regulation 913/2010.

On RFC Rhine-Alpine PaPs are an assembly of several PaP segments and not an entire PaP from Rotterdam, Antwerpen, Amsterdam, Vlissingen or Zeebrugge to Genoa. According to the “supply offer model” a PaP does not include terminals or other facilities (e.g. stabling sidings etc.) however the connection from/to a terminal or facilities can be requested in the form of feeder/outflow paths.

Within CID Book IV, the acronym “PaP” is mentioned in different contexts:

Fix-Pap and Flex-PaP:  Path offer with fixed timeframes, see question 2.2 and flexible
timeframes, see question 2.3
Network PaP: Part of the priority rule and not a path product
   

 

2. What is a Fix PaP?

A Fix-PaP is a PaP defined by fixed data (border times and stops within the path are fixed) and it is not foreseen to change these parameters.

This type of PaPs is currently offered by ProRail and Infrabel.

You can recognize this in PCS by:

 

3. What is a Flex PaP?

A Flex-PaP is a PaP defined by some fixed parameters (mainly times at the border/handover points between IMs) and the indication of a range of flexible parameters. (E.g. shows standard running time, location and duration of stops for intermediate / operational points). This type of PaPs is currently offered by DB Netz, SBB/BLS/trasse.ch and RFI. You can recognize this type of PaP in PCS by:

4. What is a Network PaP?

A Network PaP is part of the way how to calculate the priority in case of conflicting PaP-requests and not a path product as Flex-PaP and Fix-PaP. Some successive PaP segments are defined as Network PaP in order that in a first step of the priority calculation only those segments are taken in account.

5. What are Sandwich-PaP and Jumping-PaP?

These two expressions are no specific path products - they describe ways how a Fix-PaP or/and a Flex PaP is used within a request and are not path products.

6. What are feeder/outflow paths?

Feeder/outflow paths are paths that connect the origin / destination point of a freight train with the point where the train starts / ends to run on a pre-arranged path.

7. In case of Flex-PaP, is it possible to request stops at any point along the Corridor?

If the amount and duration does not exceed the standard running time of the PaP section, it is possible to request stops at any point along the Corridor. The PaP-Catalogue indicates the maximum stopping time for each point.

In Switzerland, stops are only possible at the indicated operational points; see Book IV Annex 4.D-4

Example:

Indicated stopping time: Mannheim Friedrichsfeld is 5 Min, Offenburg is 5 Min; You may stop in Karlsruhe for 5 Minutes instead of Mannheim.

8. In case of a Flex-PaP, is it possible to join or leave the Corridor with feeder and outflow paths at any point along the corridor?

Actually yes – concerning the technical handling in PCS, the schematic Map (CID Book IV Annex 4.B) defines the intermediate points and handover points where it is possible to start end PaP requests and connect feeder/outflow requests.

Example:
Request for Kijfhoek to Koblenz, 
L-PaP = Kijfhoek – Troisdorf
L-F/O = Troisdorf - Koblenz

How the priority calculation is affected is explained in point 3.3 of this document.

9. Does a pre-arranged path have special parameters?

The PaP shows the maximal possible parameters on the concerning segment.
(E.g. Basel – Chiasso is 600m / 1400t).

In special cases it is possible to exceed those parameters. See CID Book IV Annex 4.D and remarks in the path catalogue.

As an exeption some pre-arranged paths in Switzerland, Basel – Brig – Domodossola have minimum parameters (e. g. SIM-Profile). The requests for those sections have to apply above Profile PC 45/364. See also Book IV Annex 4.D-4 Switzerland

10. What is the difference between a pre-arranged path and a national path?

Pre-arranged paths are exclusively distributed and managed by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop on behalf of the national infrastructure managers/allocation bodies. Therefore it is essential that the displayed dedicated capacity is protected against subsequent adaptations (dislocation, shifting etc.) by the IMs/ABs due to other path requests during the allocation phase. Path Request Management is executed entirely by the IT-Tool PCS and for the first time ever the decision on path allocation will be done by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop for the entire international pre-arranged path segment on the basis of one harmonized allocation rule.

National Catalogue Paths may be requested at national infrastructure managers and will still be allocated by the national IMs individually based on national rules only.

11. When and where does the Corridor One-Stop-Shop publish the PaP-Catalogue?

The PaP-Catalogue is published mid-January of every year for the following network timetable (11 months before timetable change). The Pre-arranged Path Catalogue will be displayed on the website of the Corridor and in the IT-Tool PCS of RNE.

12. How is a pre-arranged path protected / reserved for international rail freight?

A pre-arranged path is reserved capacity in the IMs planning system/tool. Also protected against major changes triggered due to other path requests during the allocation phase performed by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop. In this sense pre-arranged paths are dedicated for rail freight only.

13. Who is entitled to apply for a pre-arranged path (applicants)?

Railway undertakings, international groupings of railway undertakings or other persons or legal entities, such as shippers, freight forwarders and combined transport operators with a public-service or commercial interest in procuring infrastructure capacity (according to Article 15 of EU Regulation 913/2010 and Article 3.19 of EU Directive 2012/34) are entitled to apply for PaPs.

Non RU applicants have to appoint an executing railway undertaking at least 30 days before running, for feeder and outflow see table Book IV chapter 3.2.

14. Where can I find Terms and Conditions?

Terms and Conditions for requesting PaPs are described in the Corridor Information Document Book IV which can be found on the Corridor website under the menue “Downloads => Corridor Information Document” and on the Corridor Information Platform.

15. Do I have to accept them?

Yes, if you want to request a Corridor product you must accept the terms and conditions by klicking the relevant box in PCS to finalise your request.

16. Where, when and how do I place a PaP-Request?

The PaP request can only be placed in PCS by choosing the relevant PaP from the catalogue and by copying/creating it in PCS, in a so called PCS dossier.The request may include feeder and outflow paths by adding an additional operational point to the PaP request.

The deadline for placing a PaP request is the usual deadline for path ordering for annual timetable which is the second Monday in April – as published in RNE Process Calendar under http://www.rne.eu/process-calendar.html

Whenever you place a request for a Flex-PaP, the request has to respect the fixed data and the given range of flexible data. Within the given range, the applicant may compose his/her request according to his/her individual needs (e.g. by choosing the location / duration of stops) without exceeding the given running time per pre-arranged path section.

17. What are special cases in the request?

Division of continuous offer in shares refers to the situation when the request for Corridor capacity is made in the following order: PaP-section – tailor made section – PaP section. The detailed description can be found in CID Book 4, chapter 3.4.3.6.

18. Do I have to pay a reservation fee?

On RFC Rhine-Alpine it has been decided that for timetable period 2018 no extra reservation fee will be levied.

19. May I apply for feeder/outflow paths in connection to a pre-arranged path?

Yes, you may apply at the Corridor One-Stop-Shop for feeder/outflow paths in connection to a PaP if the feeder /outflow paths concern train paths of the rail infrastructure managers along the Corridor.

Terminal slots and other facilities (e.g. stabling sidings of DB Netz etc.) have to be requested at the responsible entities themselves (see Corridor Information Document Book III).

The Corridor One-Stop-Shop will ask the concerned national infrastructure manager and allocation body to produce the relevant timetable offer for the feeder/outflow path. Questions occurring during the path elaboration process of the feeder may also be discussed and arranged between you and the concerned infrastructure manager/allocation body directly. If the delivered feeder/outflow path does not fit to the pre-allocated pre-arranged path at the connecting point the Corridor One-Stop-Shop may offer an alternative pre-arranged path -if available- to build a harmonized offer. In any case the Corridor One-Stop-Shop will consolidate the timetable offer (pre-arranged path incl. feeder/outflow paths) and communicate the entire timetable offer (pre-arranged path incl. feeder/outflow paths) to you.

20. May I place a request only for a national section of a PaP?

The Corridor One-Stop-Shop is responsible for any application of pre-arranged path and RC for corridor infrastructure capacity crossing at least one border on a rail freight corridor.

Should you need to place a request only for a national PaP section, you may have to use the national request procedures to do so.

21. May I apply for a pre-arranged path after the official application deadline (late path request)?

The Corridor offers capacity slots for late path requests. Late Path Requests can be placed from X-8 to X-2 in PCS addressed to the Corridor One-Stop-Shop.

Applications placed after the official deadline for annual timetable (=late path requests) are coordinated by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop. The construction of the offer is done by the concerned infrastructure managers. The applicant will get an offer in the first half of October via the Corridor One-Stop-Shop / PCS.

22. What happens if I withdraw/change my path request before accepting the final path offer?

The withdrawal has to be done in PCS. For the withdrawal of a PaP-Request the national conditions are described in the Network Statements of the individual infrastructure managers. See Corridor Information Document Book II). Change requests for pre-arranged path placed by the applicant after the X-8 deadline until X-5 are treated by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop according to the following rule:

  • "Downsizing" changes to the PaP-Request (e. g. cancellation of running days, shortening of route by deleting entire pre-arranged path sections, lower parameters, except in sections with minimum parameter if the downsizing falls below the minimum parameter) which neither affect the international character of the pre-arranged path nor the ranking of the request in the allocation decision according to the priority rule, are handled by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop and documented in the PCS dossier and the path register accordingly.

 

  • "Substantial"
    • changes to the PaP-Request affecting the border times and the ranking of the request in the allocation decision according to the priority rule and downsizing below the minimum parameter, are seen as complete cancellations of the PaP-Request. Those change requests are then forwarded to the concerned IM/AB for further treatment as late requests in remaining capacity.

Please take note of the specialities on specific pre-arranged path sections on the corridor for Switzerland described in the CID Book IV Annex 4D-4

Path allocation on a pre-arranged path

1. How does the Corridor One-Stop-Shop take the allocation decision on a pre-arranged path?

A corridor-specific priority rule has been adopted by the ministries of transport along the Corridor. It’s described in detail in the current Framework for Capacity Allocation (FCA) which can be found under downloads.

2. How is the priority rule affected by joining or leaving the Corridor with feeder and outflow paths at any point along the Corridor?

If you ask for joining / leaving the corridor in the middle of a PaP-section only fully used PaP-sections will be considered for the priority calculation in the first step and the partially used PaP section will be considered as feeder/outflow path.

Example:

Request for Kijfhoek to Koblenz,
L-PaP = Kijfhoek – Troisdorf
L-F/O = Troisdorf - Koblenz

This principle will also be applied in the case of a Flex-PaP. The distances between handover / intermediate points as displayed in the schematic Corridor Map (see CID Book Annex 4.B) are considered as PaP-sections.

3. When will I be informed about the allocation decision?

The C-OSS provides first information to the applicants on the status of their application at the beginning of May. In case the application has the highest priority, the information concerns the allocation decision in their favor and announces the formal draft path offer which will be given on behalf of the concerned IM/AB by the C-OSS with the draft timetable offer in X-5 via PCS.

4. Do I have to apply again if the pre-arranged path has been allocated to a competing applicant?

No – your request is in any case valid as an on-time request for the network timetable. You will receive a tailor-made offer by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop.

5. How will the draft / final path offer be submitted?

The draft and final path offer will be submitted via PCS-Tool by respecting the international deadlines.

6. Who is my contracting partner for the infrastructure usage contract?

Your contracting partners for the infrastructure usage contract are the individual national infrastructure managers not the Corridor One-Stop-Shop itself. 

7. How do I cancel paths after concluding the usage contract and what are the consequences?

Cancellations (after the final offer) have to be placed directly to the national IM’s. For cancellations the individual user conditions of the national infrastructure managers will apply.

RESERVE CAPACITY

1. What is reserve capacity?

Reserve Capacity is offered using a flexible approach if remaining capacity is still available on the Corridor. It is published by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop by a certain number/contingent of capacity slots for international rail freight per day and corridor segment. Applicants may send path requests to the Corridor One-Stop-Shop for their ad-hoc traffic in the range of the published reference running times until 30 days before the first day of operation whereas short-term traffic under 30 days still needs to be requested from the individual infrastructure Managers. The timeframe for Reserve Capacity requests is +/- 3 hours from the reference point the RU indicates (start or end of requests)

2. How and when will reserve capacity be published?

Reserve Capacity will be published in October for the upcoming timetable period if remaining capacity is still available for the upcoming Network Timetable on the Corridor.

3. How will reserve capacity be allocated?

Reserve Capacity will be allocated by the Corridor One-Stop-Shop according to the “first come, first served” principle.

EEIG

1. What is an EEIG?

A European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG) is a type of legal entity which was created under European Community (EC) Council Regulation 2137/85 in 1985. It is designed to make it easier for companies in different countries to do business together, or to form consortia to take part in EU programmes.

Its activities must be ancillary to those of its members, and, as with a partnership, any profit or loss it makes is attributed to its members. Thus, although it is liable for VAT and employees’ social insurance, it is not liable to corporation tax. It has unlimited liability. It was based on the pre-existing French groupement d´intérêt économique (G.i.e.).

2. Is the EEIG an Infrastructure Manager (IM) and responsible for tracks?

No, the EEIG is not an Infrastructure Manager and therefore not directly responsible for track infrastructure.

3. How does the EEIG cooperate with the Infrastructure Managers?

It was created and is financed by all Infrastructure Managers along the Corridor and it serves for the project coordination, monitoring and steering on corridor level. Cooperation takes place on working level as well as on management level.

4. What is the general purpose of the EEIG - in one sentence?

The EEIG shall serve as the voice of the corridor and manages the overall, international coordination of the corridor programme as well as a number of projects and activities for the further development of the corridor.

5. Does the EEIG allocate or sell trackside capacity?

No. The EEIG does not offer or sells trackside capacity ("train paths").

6. Does the EEIG manage traffic on the corridor?

No. Traffic management remains the exclusive domain of the Infrastructure Managers.

7. Is the RFC Rhine-Alpine a dedicated (exclusive) freight corridor?

The RFC Rhine-Alpine has a certain focus on freight traffic. However, the corridor is used by all kinds of traffic modes (freight, passenger and commuter), except for the Betuweroute in the Netherlands, which is exclusively dedicated to freight traffic.

8. How does the RFC coordinate its activities with other corridors, respectively other parts of the networks?

The RFC Rhine-Alpine is an integrated part of the national networks, respectively the European network. The coordination is carried out on the working level by experts of the Infrastructure Managers as well as its Management Board (MB). The coordination among the various freight corridors is done on European level, e.g. by the European ERTMS coordinator Mr Karel Vinck.

9. What is being done/ will be done to raise quality and reliability on the corridor?

To raise quality and reliability, the corridor programme monitors and steers several projects. Traffic performance is monitored on a regular basis as well as punctuality. International train paths shall at some point be ordered via a Corridor One-Stop-Shop (C-OSS).

10. My train does not start or end in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Zeebrugge or Genoa. In which respect is the corridor interesting for my business?

Hardly any freight train goes directly from one of the major corridor sea ports to another, from start to finish. The corridor is a driver for mobility and a powerful mean of transport, even if the transportation route branches off the corridor somewhere between Rotterdam and Genoa. The corridor offers many capable line sections with plenty of freight train paths, even if a train is not directly going to or coming from Rotterdam, Antwerp, Zeebrugge or Genoa.

11. What is being done to mitigate noise along the corridor?

The corridor is an integrated part of the national networks. Therefore, it benefits from the national noise mitigation programmes and measures. All means of noise mitigation apply, in particular regular rail grinding, noise abatement barriers and retrofitting of freight wagons.

Further Questions?

If you have further questions, please submit your questions by mail to the Programme Management Office.

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