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Rail safety: transport of dangerous goods by rail

The purpose of this Directive is to harmonise the rules applicable to the national and intra-Community transport of dangerous goods by rail. Harmonisation of the rules makes it possible to remove obstacles to the free movement of goods between Member States with regard to transport equipment. Such transport will therefore be carried out under the best possible safety conditions.

ACT

Council Directive 96/49/EC of 23 July 1996 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States with regard to the transport of dangerous goods by rail [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

The purpose of this Directive is to establish national safety standards at the level of the international standards set in the Convention Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail (COTIF). It also aims to create a single market in the transport of dangerous goods by rail.

International standards

All the Member States are Contracting Parties to the COTIF that defines the rules concerning the contract for international carriage of goods by rail (CIM *). The COTIF does not cover the national carriage of dangerous goods by rail. The CIM constitutes the regulations concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by rail (RID *).

Scope and derogations

Member States may exempt the transport of dangerous goods conducted by means of transport equipment belonging to the armed forces from the scope of this Directive.

Member States retain the right to lay down safety requirements for national or international transport, in so far as this Directive does not cover that area. This applies, for example, to the running of trains or the marshalling of freight wagons.

Each Member State also retains the right to regulate or prohibit, strictly for reasons other than safety, the internal transport of certain dangerous goods by rail.

Directive 96/49/EC is repealed by Directive 2008/68/EC as from 30 June 2009.

Key terms used in the act

  • RID: the regulations concerning the international carriage of dangerous goods by rail, appearing as Annex I to Appendix B to the Convention concerning international carriage by rail (COTIF);
  • CIM: the uniform rules concerning the contract for international carriage of goods by rail, appearing as Appendix B to the Convention concerning international carriage by rail (COTIF).

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 96/49/EC [Procedure SYN/1994/0284]17.9.19961.1.1997OJ L 235 of 17.9.1996

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2000/62/EC1.11.20001.5.2001OJ L 279 of 1.11.2000
Directive 2001/6/EC21.2.200131.12.2001/31.12.2002OJ L 30 of 1.2.2001
Decision 2002/885/EC1.7.20011.7.2001/1.7.2003OJ L 308 of 9.11.2002
Directive 2003/29/EC9.4.20031.7.2003OJ L 90 of 8.4.2003
Directive 2004/89/EC6.10.20041.10.2004OJ L 293 of 16.9.2004
Directive 2004/110/EC30.12.20041.7.2005OJ L 365 of 10.12.2004
Directive 2006/90/EC24.11.20061.7.2007OJ L 305 of 4.11.2006

RELATED ACTS

CommissionDecision2005/777/EC of 13October 2005 amending Decision 2005/180/EC on authorising Member States to adopt certain derogations pursuant to Council Directive 96/49/EC with regard to the transport of dangerous goods by rail [Official Journal L 293 of 09.11.2005].

Commission Decision2005/180/EC of 4 March 2005 authorising Member States to adopt certain derogations pursuant to Council Directive 96/49/EC with regard to the transport of dangerous goods by rail [Official Journal L 61 of 08.03.2005].

Annexes A and B to Council Directive 96/49/EC as announced in CommissionDirective2001/6/EC (repealed) adapting for the third time to technical progress Council Directive 96/49/EC on theapproximation of the laws of the Member States with regard to the transport of dangerous goods by rail [Official Journal L 121 of 26.04.2004].
The transport of dangerous goods by rail is authorised subject to compliance with the conditions imposed in the annexes. The annexes to the directive cover:

  • dangerous goods which are barred from carriage;
  • dangerous goods which are authorised for carriage and the conditions attaching to them.

CouncilDirective96/35/EC of 3June 1996 on the appointment and vocational qualification of safety advisers for the transport of dangerous goods by road, rail and inland waterway [Official Journal L 145 of 19.06.1996].

Last updated: 31.10.2008
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