Temporary Capacity Restrictions (TCRs)
Temporary capacity restrictions are necessary to keep the infrastructure and its equipment in good condition and to allow infrastructure development in accordance with market needs. Also having a negative impact on the rail network, however, the railway sector itself needs to stay competitive with other modes of transport, especially road transport.
Hence, the goal of coordination of TCRs is the optimisation of planned TCRs with the overall goal: The traffic has to flow! This can only be achieved if rail infrastructure is available at all times in adequate quality and quantity to facilitate traffic in line with customers’ needs. To plan traffic and communicate with end customers, reliable timetables are required which reflect these market needs. This principle is one of the main cornerstones of the project results of the ‘Redesign of the international timetabling process’ (TTR)
This requirement is also reflected in the recast of Annex VII of the Directive 2012/34/EU, which came in to force in December 2017: It obliges IMs to coordinate TCRs between themselves, while also considering the needs of the Applicants. This is necessary to provide high-quality path offers.
To provide the sector with the required procedures, RNE has set up a TCR Working Group with the goal to create common coordination, consultation and publication processes regarding TCRs. The TCR Working Group (TCR WG) meets twice per year and serves as a platform for measures and projects (e.g. TCR Guidelines, TCR Tool, etc.) to create, implement and improve TCR process elements.
The working group consists of business experts from all Infrastructure Managers/Allocation Bodies and is supported by Railway Undertakings. As a first achievement, the TCR WG – together with representatives of RUs – has provided the TCR Guidelines for the complete network, covering all aspects of the recast Annex VII.
With the goal of creating a single place with all information about available TCRs, RNE has developed a web-based TCR Tool, which has been successfully launched for a pilot run on more than 10 European IM networks.
Given these major functionalities, the TCR Tool is useful not only for the coordination and publication of TCRs among IMs but also for the consultation with Applicants as it provides them with one single platform on which each Applicant can find harmonised information (in contrast to the current situation where Applicants have to review different Excel lists of various RFCs in order to assess the impact of TCRs on their traffic plans). In addition, the TCR Tool could even be applied at national level, in particular by smaller IMs who have no national tool available to publish TCRs.
After the pilot run in 2019, the TCR Tool will be rolled out on the whole European Network in 2020 and further functionalities in line with the TTR IT Landscape will be triggered.
Project to Handle TCRs in the TT Process
The planning and coordination of temporary capacity restrictions (TCRs) is a major factor in stabilising timetable offers. This has also been reflected in the recast of Annex VII (Directive 2012/34/EU) and the TCR Guidelines. However, the results have not been satisfactory, and timetables still suffer due to TCRs. This has been reflected in the first TTR pilots, where TCRs caused the capacity models of various pilot lines to be unreliable due to required changes. Therefore, RNE has launched the project ‘Process for Handling TCRs in the TT Process’ (in short: TCRs in TT) to find the missing links between the TCR and TT planning and to bring higher transparency and predictability to the process.
The main goal of this new project is to define a new process for integrating TCRs into the capacity model. The process should lead to more efficient usage of IM/RU resources (i.e. decreased workload due to stability of timetables), increased attractivity of the railway sector (internationally harmonised and more user-friendly process for carriers) and easier implementation of TTR and capacity models.
On 18 February 2020 a joint workshop of RNE’s Sales & Timetabling and TCR Working Groups took place in Vienna where proposals and measures were collected to form the basis for the process definition. The draft process will be drafted by the project core team, discussed in the working groups, endorsed by the Sales & Timetabling High Level Group and ultimately approved together with the implementation road map by the RNE General Assembly in December 2020.
For further information regarding the project for handling TCRs in the TT process, please contact Sebastián Čarek:
Timetabling & Project Manager
For further information regarding TCRs and the TCR tool please contact Mario Toma or Aurelio Di Paola: