Railway Sector delivers on issue of confidentiality

The railway industry in the European Union is tackling a crucial issue regarding the confidentiality of train-related information in freight transport. This information, which includes details such as train paths and current locations, is essential for maintaining efficiency and safety throughout Europe’s extensive rail network. Currently, protecting this sensitive data is not only a legal requirement but also crucial for fostering trust among stakeholders. 

For years, Europe has lacked a comprehensive (legal and IT) solution to ensure the appropriate sharing of train-related information between Infrastructure Managers (IMs) and Railway Undertakings (RUs). This lack of clarity poses a significant legal challenge for the sector. With advancements in technology, regulation, and market dynamics, there’s a growing need to update contracts between IMs and RUs to address confidentiality concerns. 

To tackle these challenges, RailNetEurope (RNE), supported by legal experts from the CIT General Secretariat, has been working on developing standardized boilerplate clauses to be included in the contracts for use of railway infrastructure (CUI)/track access agreements (TAA) and framework agreements (FA) between infrastructure managers and applicants/railway undertakings. The project favoured a solution with different clauses for different railway markets. This solution would allow   

  • a clear separation between train information generated by passenger and freight trains and its appropriate legal treatment according to the current standards of data economy;   
  • business-oriented definition of the types and/or elements of train information that should no longer be considered confidential between IM and RU (i.e., the content dimension);  
  • a logical description of the exact points in time when the confidentiality of train information between IM and RU should begin and end (i.e. the time dimension); and 
  • the provision of legal certainty in all use cases of data sharing beyond the railway sector under legal and contractual obligations (e.g. NAPs, EMDS, other data spaces, third parties, etc.). 

The legal analysis and proposed boilerplate clauses were endorsed by the RNE General Assembly in December 2023.The proposed clauses have been endorsed by the RNE General Assembly and members are encouraged to incorporate them into their contracts by 2026. Additionally, negotiations between RNE and CIT will commence to align existing confidentiality clauses (E-SCU-I/E-GTC-I) with the project’s recommendations. 

This initiative underscores the commitment of European railway associations to address critical challenges facing the industry.