The Bundesnetzagentur has been supervising rail competition since 1 January 2006 and in this capacity must ensure that non-discriminatory access to the rail infrastructure is granted.
Our responsibilities derive primarily from sections 14 to 14g of the General Railway Act (Allgemeines Eisenbahngesetz, AEG) and the Rail Infrastructure Usage Regulations (Eisenbahninfrastruktur-Benutzungsverordnung, EIBV) which detail these sections. Policing compliance with non-discriminatory access involves vigilance particularly in respect of decisions on train path allocation and access to service facilities (eg stations, maintenance facilities, ports and sidings) and on non-discriminatory usage charges. We also monitor compliance with statutory pricing principles and price levels. All track and service facilities operators are subject to regulation, no matter what position they occupy in the market (symmetric regulation).
Public infrastructure managers must grant train operators and other access beneficiaries (eg haulage contractors, shippers) access not just to the tracks but also to service facilities. Our regulatory duties can be performed both ex ante and ex post. We can take action upon being notified of planned steps, in response to complaints and on our own initiative. If we disagree with a decision and lodge an objection within the tight time limit set, we can make specifications that require the decision to be revised. This may mean that certain provisions, contracts or conditions such as price levels, for instance, may not become effective.
To handle these tasks the Rail Department is divided into five sections. Two of these are responsible for policy issues and three for operational aspects. International rail regulation coordination is assigned to Department 3.
In Department 7, Section 701 is chiefly responsible for legal policy issues. Section 702's remit covers economic policy issues, market monitoring and statistics.
The operational tasks of rail regulation are performed by Section 703 (Access to Rail Infrastructure and Services), Section 704 (Access to Service Facilities and Services) and Section 705 (Charges for Networks, Service Facilities and Services).
Every year, the Bundesnetzagentur draws up an activity report for the federal government. It is advised by a Rail Infrastructure Advisory Council, made up of an equal number of members of parliament and representatives of the federal states.
The expert supervision of rail regulation, ie the supervision of lawfulness and appropriateness, is a matter for the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS), while the administrative supervision remains with the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).