Act on the Establishment and Operation of Railways, including Tramways, Underground Railways and Suburban Railways etc., (Railways Act)

Act on the Establishment and Operation of Railways, including Tramways, Underground Railways and Suburban Railways etc., (Railways Act)

(This translation is for information purposes only)

Chapter I Introductory provisions

Section 1 (Scope of the act)

This act applies to the establishment and operation of railways, including tramways, underground railways, suburban railways and similar modes of guided transport. The act also applies to fixed and movable appliances that are connected with railway operations.

Section 2 (Exceptions for certain railways)

The ministry may by regulations or individual decision except from this act or parts thereof railways:

a) for which transport is not their main business,

b) which will not constitute a material risk to traffic safety, or

c) in which the State holds an owner interest above 50 per cent and the intentions of the act can be promoted by other means.

Section 3 (Definitions)

For the purpose of this act:

a) "infrastructure" means rail track layout with appurtenant land areas and installations, signalling and back-up systems, power supply systems and communication systems;

b) "rail traffic control" means train management and other functions that co-ordinate and ensure safety in relation to train movement;

c) "rail transport services" means carriage of passengers and freight on the infrastructure;

d) "railway operation" means operation of infrastructure, rail traffic control and rail transport services.

The ministry may make supplementary regulations on what is meant by infrastructure, rail traffic control and rail transport services.

Chapter I A. Drivers and other railway personnel

Section 3a (Alcohol influence)

No one may drive or attempt to drive rolling stock

1. with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.02 per cent, or a quantity of alcohol in the body that may lead to such a high blood alcohol concentration,

2. with a breath alcohol concentration above 0.1 milligrammes per litre of air,

3. while under the influence of any intoxicant or sedative other than alcohol, or

4. when sickness, medicines, fatigue or similar cause renders him or her unfit to perform the duty concerned in a satisfactory manner.

Ignorance as to the alcohol concentration does not entail exemption from punishment. The prohibition applies equally to anyone performing or attempting to perform tasks related to railway safety.

No one to whom the prohibition in the first paragraph applies may consume alcohol or take any other intoxicating or tranquilising substance during the first six hours after completion of duty when the individual realises or should realise that a police investigation may be carried out as a result of his or her performance of the duty concerned. However, this prohibition shall not apply where a blood sample has been taken or a breath test has been carried out or where the police have decided that such sample or test shall not be taken or carried out.

The ministry may make further regulations concerning who is encompassed by this provision.

Section 3b (Compulsory abstinence etc.)

No one who drives rolling stock may consume alcohol or other intoxicant or sedative in working hours. Hours of duty start when the individual concerned, in accordance with his duties of service, starts the work required by his position, and last until the end of working hours. The prohibition applies equally to anyone who performs or attempts to perform tasks related to railway safety.

The prohibition also applies in a period of 8 hours prior to the start of duty.

The ministry may make further regulations concerning who is encompassed by this provision.

Section 3c (Preliminary breath alcohol test, confirmation breath alcohol test, blood sample)

The police may carry out a preliminary breath alcohol test on anyone

1. who there is cause to believe has violated the provisions of sections 3a or 3b,

2. who is involved, with or without own fault, in a railway accident or railway incident, or

3. when it is required as part of the oversight of railway operation.

Should the result of the preliminary breath alcohol test or other factors give cause to believe that the provisions of sections 3a or 3b have been violated, the police may present the person concerned for a confirmation breath alcohol test, blood sample and clinical medical examination to seek to determine the alcohol influence. Such presentation shall in general take place in the case of anyone who refuses to undergo a preliminary breath alcohol test.

The confirmation breath alcohol test shall be carried out by the police. A blood sample may be taken by a physician, nurse or medical laboratory technologist. A clinical medical examination shall be carried out where there is a suspicion of influence of substances other than alcohol or when called for other special reasons.

The ministry may make further regulations concerning examinations as mentioned in this section.

Section 3d (Competency requirements on the driver and other personnel with tasks related to railway safety)

The driver of rolling stock and other personnel who perform tasks related to railway safety must fulfil the conditions set by the supervisory authority concerning qualifications, age, health, physical and mental fitness, good repute, temperance, education and training etc. The supervisory authority may require that personnel mentioned in the first sentence hold a certificate showing their fulfilment of the conditions.

The supervisory authority may make further regulations concerning what categories of personnel are to be encompassed by the first paragraph, as well as rules regarding the issue and renewal of certificates etc.

Section 3e (Revocation of certificates etc.)

The supervisory authority may revoke a certificate under section 3d first paragraph for a specific period, until further notice or for the rest of the period of validity in cases where the holder, whether on or off duty, is guilty of an offence of significance for his duties or if he otherwise fails to fulfil the conditions for performing the duties to which the certificate applies.

A certificate shall be revoked for at least one year if punishment is imposed on the holder for violation of section 3a or 3b. If the holder has previously received punishment for one of the above violations in the last 5 years, the certificate shall be withdrawn indefinitely.

Where the supervisory authority finds cause to presume that a circumstance exists which may justify revocation, it may immediately invalidate the certificate until the question of revocation is decided. If a police investigation has been initiated against the holder, the police shall similarly be entitled to provisionally invalidate the certificate, but not for longer than 3 weeks without the supervisory authority’s consent.

The supervisory authority may make further provisions concerning revocation of certificates under this section, and may also by individual decision reduce the period of revocation to below the minimum period provided for in the second paragraph where exceptionally mitigating circumstances exist and withdrawal for such a long period as provided for would have an unreasonably harsh effect.

Where a certificate is revoked or invalidated, the document shall be handed in to the supervisory authority.

Chapter II Approval arrangements, authorisations etc.

Section 4 (Establishment and approval of infrastructure)

The ministry may lay down regulations on the technical design of infrastructure in order to promote the interest of safe and appropriate services.

The planning and establishment of infrastructure shall take place in accordance with the Planning and Building Act.

The infrastructure shall be approved by the ministry before being put into operation.

Section 5 (Approval of rolling stock etc.)

Rolling stock shall be approved by the ministry before being put into service on the infrastructure, except as otherwise provided by international agreements or regulations made by the ministry.

Section 6 (Authorisation to engage in railway operations)

Whoever intends to operate infrastructure or rail transport services must be authorised to do so by the ministry. Operation of infrastructure includes responsibility for rail traffic control, unless the ministry authorises the transfer of such responsibility to others.

The ministry may by regulations or individual decision lay down conditions for this authorisation in order to safeguard the interests of safe and appropriate rail services and of the environment, including requirements for:

a) requisite professional competence, good repute and financial fitness of the applicant;

b) competence etc., of the operating personnel;

c) a police certificate from the applicant or the person effectively in charge of the undertaking and from personnel responsible for safety;

d) a guarantee or insurance covering liability for damages which may arise from the activity of the railway operation;

e) accounts, scrutiny of the accounts, statistics etc., and inspection of such documents;

f) safety regulations and internal control systems;

g) protection against noise, fencing.

Section 7 (Special requirements as to rail transport services)

The ministry may by regulations or individual decision impose a requirement concerning conditions for rail transport and concerning an additional charge for passengers not holding a valid ticket.

Where the county municipality provides grants to a local railway undertaking within a county, the county municipality shall set conditions for rail transport. The county municipality’s decisions in matters relating to approval of working timetables, fares and grants may not be appealed to the ministry.

Section 7a (Right of detention)

Anyone travelling on a means of transport regulated by the present act who is unable to produce a valid ticket at a ticket inspection and who fails to pay on the spot an additional charge as approved by the ministry pursuant to section 7 first paragraph, may be detained by the transport company’s inspectors so long as the person in question fails to give sufficient details of their name, address and date of birth. The right of detention also applies while the details given are being verified.

The right to detain persons under the first paragraph applies only where such right is approved by the Ministry of Transport and Communications as part of the company’s conditions for rail transport.

Persons may not be detained in circumstance where detention would constitute a disproportionate intervention.

Persons below the age of 15 should not be detained.

Section 7b (Mutual exchange of travel information and mutual ticket sales)

The ministry may make an order regarding mutual exchange of travel information and mutual ticket sales between two or more undertakings engaged in the transport of passengers by rail.

The ministry may by regulations lay down further provisions on orders regarding mutual exchange of travel information and mutual ticket sales.

Section 8 (Access rights to the national railway network)

The King may decide that whoever is authorised to engage in railway operation under section 6 may be given access rights to infrastructure that forms part of the national railway network. The King may make further provisions in regard to the scope of and the conditions for such authorisation.

Chapter II A. Competition for contracts for transport of passengers by rail

Section 8a (Provisions on competition)

The ministry is responsible for issuing regulations concerning the preparation for and implementation of competition for contracts on transport of passengers by rail, including regulations to supplement the provisions of sections 8b to 8f.

Section 8b (Competition on an equal and non-discriminatory basis)

Competition for contracts for passenger transport by rail shall be implemented on an equal and non-discriminatory basis. The ministry shall when preparing for and implementing competition ensure that the interests of predictability, transparency and verifiability are safeguarded.

The ministry may make an order requiring the supplier function at an undertaking participating in competition for contracts for transport of passengers by rail to be a separate financial entity.

Section 8c (Access to rolling stock)

If it is considered necessary in order to achieve competition on an equal and non-discriminatory basis, the ministry may order NSB AS to make suitable rolling stock available to another undertaking that is awarded a contract for transport of passengers by rail.

Before an order is made, the ministry shall seek to achieve a voluntary solution based on agreement.

The order shall be time-limited, and shall cease no later than the contract for passenger transport that is the basis for the order.

Compensation shall be paid to NSB AS for making material available under the first paragraph. Further rules on computing compensation shall be established in regulations. If agreement is not reached on the size of the compensation, this shall be established by the ministry with final effect.

Section 8d (Access to workshop infrastructure etc)

If it is considered necessary in order to achieve competition on an equal and non-discriminatory basis, the ministry may order the owner of workshop infrastructure etc. which is relevant passenger transport by rail to make this available to an undertaking that is awarded a contract for transport of passengers by rail. The same applies to other actors who dispose over workshop infrastructure etc.

The provisions of section 8c second and third paragraphs apply pari passu.

Compensation shall be paid to whoever receives an order under the first paragraph. Further rules on computing compensation shall be established in regulations.

Section 8e (Access to sales and distribution systems etc.)

If it is considered necessary in order to achieve competition on an equal and non-discriminatory basis, the ministry may order NSB AS to make sales and distribution systems available to an undertaking engaged in passenger transport by rail.

The provisions of section 8c second to fourth paragraph apply pari passu to orders made under the first paragraph.

The ministry may order an undertaking engaged in passenger transport by rail to use sales and distribution systems as mentioned in the first paragraph. The provisions of section 8c second and fourth paragraph apply pari passu to orders made under this paragraph.

Section 8f (Handover of information)

The ministry may order any undertaking engaged in passenger transport by rail to hand over such information as is considered necessary for the preparation for, and implementation of, competitions for passenger transport contracts as well as for the planning and management of the railway sector.

Chapter III Obligations etc., on the general public

Section 9 (Obligations on the general public and owners of private level crossings)

All persons who are present in a railway area are obliged to follow the safety instructions applying to the location.

Members of the public are prohibited from:

a) boarding or alighting from a train that is in motion;

b) loitering in a railway area that is not intended for public use;

c) using a level crossing when a train can be expected.

The owner of a private gate or other closing device shall be responsible for keeping such gate or device closed when crossing is not taking place.

Section 10 (Adjacent properties)

Except by agreement with the infrastructure owner, it is prohibited to erect a building or other installation, carry out excavation or filling within 30 metres of the centre line of the nearest track, except as otherwise provided for by an area development plan. This shall not apply where the track layout is a part of a public or private road.

The owner of the infrastructure may order the owner of a neighbouring property, or the holder of rights to such property, to remove trees and other vegetation within the 30 metre boundary as mentioned in the first paragraph when called for in the interest of train movement or of the safety of the surroundings. If such order is not complied with, the owner of the infrastructure may see to the removal of the vegetation himself.

The owner or rights holder shall be entitled to compensation by appraisement for any damage and inconvenience resulting from measures as mentioned in the second paragraph, as well as for any expenses in this connection. If timely notice has been given in writing that planting shall not take place within the 30 metre boundary, the owner or rights holder shall not be entitled to compensation.

Chapter IV Administrative provisions

Section 11 (Supervision etc.)

Railways shall be subject to supervision by the ministry or by whatever authority the ministry prescribes. It is incumbent on all parties to provide the supervisory authority with the information it requires to discharge its tasks and, for the same purpose, to afford the supervisory authority access to installations, equipment and other material associated with railway operation. The supervisory authority may order corrective measures to be taken.

The supervisory authority may order a complete or partial halt to operations when called for in the interest of safety. It may if necessary request assistance from the police to enforce such an order.

The ministry may furthermore revoke an authorisation given pursuant to the law in the event of a breach of conditions or requirements imposed on the undertaking.

Section 11a (Supervision and oversight of competitive conditions)

The ministry supervises the requirements laid down in or pursuant to sections 7b and 8b to 8f of this Act and oversees that they are complied with; this includes supervision of contracts between undertakings that are awarded a contract for passenger transport by rail and the public authorities, and between such undertakings.

The ministry may make regulations on supervision and oversight, including regulations on undertakings’ duty to facilitate control and on sanctions in regard to failure to comply with requirements prescribed in or pursuant to this Act.

Section 12 (Supervision of the marketing of interoperability constituents etc.)

The supervisory authority may order any party who places on the market a subsystem or an interoperability constituent to restrict its field of application, and may prohibit the use of or withdraw the subsystem or interoperability constituent from the market where there is a risk that the subsystem or interoperability constituent fails to meet the essential requirements. It is incumbent on all parties to provide the supervisory authority with the information it requires to discharge its tasks and, for the same purpose, to afford the supervisory authority access to premises and equipment associated with the subsystem or interoperability constituent.

The ministry may make further regulations on the supervision of marketing of subsystems or interoperability constituents.

Section 13 (Coercive fine)

When making an order, the supervisory authority may fix a cumulative coercive fine for each day that elapses after the expiry of the deadline set for complying with the order up to such time as the order is complied with. The supervisory authority may waive an accrued coercive fine.

The size of the coercive fine shall be fixed taking due account of the importance of complying with the order and of the costs it is expected to entail.

A coercive fine constitutes grounds for execution proceedings.

The ministry may make further regulations on the imposition and calculation of coercive fines and on the waiving of an imposed fine.

Section 14 (Charges)

The ministry may make regulations imposing payment of charges for control measures taken to ensure that this act or decisions pursuant to this act are complied with.

The ministry may likewise fix charges for dealing with applications for authorisation pursuant to this act.

Charges owed shall constitute grounds for execution proceedings.

Section 15 (Delegation of authority)

The ministry may delegate its authority under this act to a public or private institution.

Section 16 (EEA rules)

The King may make regulations to supplement or implement the EEA Agreement in the railway sphere.

Norwegian authorities and Norwegian railway undertakings may, notwithstanding the duty of confidentiality, provide the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EEA States' Standing Committee any information necessary for the implementation of the EEA Agreement. Railway undertakings engaged in international freight transport may, notwithstanding the duty of confidentiality, be ordered, to the extent required by the EEA Agreement, to provide information to other railway undertakings providing the same services.

Chapter V Investigation of railway accidents

This chapter comprising sections 17 to 21 is revoked by Act no. 34 of 3 June 2005 (Railway Investigation Act). See section 30 of that Act for transitional arrangements.

Chapter VI Final provisions

Section 22 (Penalties)

Whoever negligently or wilfully violates provisions or conditions laid down in or pursuant to this act, or who assists such violation, shall be punished by fines unless the violation is subject to a severer penalty.

Whoever negligently or wilfully violates the prohibition in section 3a or 3b shall be punished by fines or by imprisonment of up to 1 year. Such violation is a misdemeanour.

Section 23 (Commencement etc.)

(1) This act shall come into force on the date decided by the King.

(2) The following acts and provisions shall be repealed on the same date: - - -

Section 24 (Transitional arrangements)

The ministry may establish transitional arrangements in respect of previously awarded authorisations.

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