Regulatory environment

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With our railway transport activities in other European countries,we are also becoming subject to their local regulatory environment.

The EU Member States are obliged to implement the policies adopted by the railway packages into national law. Their implementation leeway is used by the Member States in different ways. 

Regulatory conditions in the UK, France, Poland, Spain and Italy are particularly important for the DB Group. We provide extensive rail freight transport and passenger transport services in these countries via our own subsidiary companies.

United Kingdom  

The British rail network is operated by Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd. with the exception of the high-speed line between the Channel Tunnel and London, which is operated by High Speed One Limited. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) acts as an independent regulator and is responsible for overseeing Network Rail. The ORR also issues all types of railroad licenses and safety certificates and approves user agreements and user charges. The intergovernmental Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) is responsible for overseeing rail operations in Eurotunnel. On May 1, 2021, the trade and cooperation agreement negotiated between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) entered into force. The treaty provides for neither tariffs nor quotas for trade in goods between the EU and the United Kingdom and instead contains far-reaching regulations to guarantee fair competition. With regard to traffic, the treaty provides for permanent connectivity in the areas of air, road and maritime shipping, even if market access falls short of that in the European single market. In order to secure rail traffic through the Channel Tunnel in the long term, a cross-border agreement between France and the United Kingdom has been in force since April 1, 2022, among other things.


The French rail network is operated by SNCF Réseau. The Autorité de régulation des transports (ART) is an independent regulatory authority responsible for monitoring non-discriminatory access to the rail infrastructure and controlling access charges. Between 2015 and 2020, the French rail sector was restructured. On January 1, 2020, among other things, the SNCF parent company and its Group subsidiaries SNCF Mobilités and SNCF Réseau were converted into stock corporations. SNCF's sole shareholder is the French state. France's national rail network is gradually being opened up.

The Etablissement public de sécurité ferroviaire (ESRP) issues the safety certificates required for the operation of a railroad undertaking.


The Polish rail network is for the predominant part operated by PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A (PKP PLK). The PKP PLK is majority owned by the Polish state, the remaining property is heald by the Polish Railways PKP S.A.. As an independent regulatory authority Urzad Transportu Kolejowego (UTK) is responsible for the supervision of non-discriminatory access to rail networks as well as the issuing of railway regulatory approvals and safety certificates. Further liberalisation is being sought for Polish rail transport.


The Spanish rail network is operated  by the Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF). The Regulatory Authority is the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC).  The Authority is cross-sectoral responsible for monitoring and promoting efficiently functioning and transparent competition. The "Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Ferroviaria" (AESF) located in the area of the Ministerio de Transportes, Movilidad y Agenda Urbana is responsible for issuing legally required railway permits and safety certificates.


The Italian rail network is operated by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana S.p.A. (RFI), a subsidiary of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS). Since 2013, the newly established "Autorità di Regolazione dei Trasporti" has acted as an independent regulatory authority and is primarily responsible for monitoring competition. The Agenzia Nazionale per la Sicurezza delle Ferrovie (ANSF) issues the safety certificates required for the operation of a rail company. Since 2020, the agency is now also in charge of the safety of interregional roads, motorways and local transport systems.

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