Reg­u­la­tion of charges in the rail sec­tor

The charges for the use of railway infrastructure are in return for the use of railway infrastructure and service facilities by various access beneficiaries. Thus charge regulation is not concerned with the fares paid by consumers, but rather the track access charges, station charges and other usage charges that must be paid by the railway undertakings (RUs) for passenger and freight transport to use railway infrastructure.

By regulating charges in the rail sector, the Bundesnetzagentur strengthens the competitiveness of rail transport because even when access to the network is safeguarded, there can be discriminating, inappropriate or non-transparent charges that pose a significant hurdle for the access beneficiaries and their usage requests. To avoid the levying of unlawful charges, legislators replaced the old rules laid down in the General Railway Act (in the version that was in force until 1 September 2016) and the Rail Infrastructure Usage Regulations (Eisenbahninfrastruktur-Benutzungsverordnung – EIBV) with the Rail Regulation Act (ERegG). The ERegG introduced the general approval requirement for track access charges and for charges for using passenger and goods platforms.

The Bundesnetzagentur has staff who can be contacted for all charge-related matters. All access beneficiaries should be secure in the knowledge that the usage charges are free from discriminating components and that the amounts charged are appropriate and lawful. The regulated rail infrastructure managers receive support and advice on drawing up non-discriminatory and appropriate charging schemes.

The formal regulatory procedures are conducted by Ruling Chamber 10. Section 705 supports the ruling chamber by performing fact-finding, making preparations for and following up on public oral proceedings and hearings, and examining and assessing the factual and legal situation.

Railway lines and track access charges

Route operators are usually required to define and publish their network statements. The Bundesnetzagentur has to be notified according to § 72 sentence 5 ERegG about the revision and modification oft he network statements.

The charges for train movement on the network and related services are listed in the network statements and the route operators' price lists according to attachment 3 ERegG. These documents also contain the charges for additional and ancillary services that are related to the use of rail infrastructure.

The track access charges, including the charging principles, are normally subject to approval.

Essentially every route operator must submit its charges for provision of the minimum access package to the Bundesnetzagentur for approval.

Depending on the RU, there are three different types of approval under the ERegG:

  1. "Simplified charge approval"
    (operators that have been granted exemption from the regulation of charges under section 2(6) sentence 1 half-sentence 2 ERegG (section 2(7) sentence 1 half-sentence 2 in the old version of the ERegG) or that are automatically exempt under section 2a(1) para 2 ERegG)

    Under section 2(6) sentence 1 half-sentence 2 ERegG operators of local railway networks whose core infrastructures do not have any strategic importance for the functioning of the railway transport services market can be exempted from the charge regulation provisions. The extent of the exemptions can vary between full and partial.
    Route operators that fall under the scope of section 2a(1) para 2 ERegG are already explicitly exempt by law from several charge regulation provisions without the need for a prior regulatory decision.
    Further information

  2. "Partially exempt charge approval"
    (operators partially exempt from charge regulation under section 2a(1) para 3 ERegG)
    Route operators of a network no longer than 1,000 kilometres are explicitly exempt from some charge regulation provisions.
    Further information
  3. "Regular charge approval"
    (other operators)

    For all other route operators all provisions are applied for calculating charges.
    Further information

Passenger stations and station charges

Railway infrastructure also includes passenger stations and passenger platforms. Charges for their use, referred to as station charges, are levied. These charges are also normally subject to approval using a separate charging standard. When a federally owned operator imposes station charges, a so-called "station charge brake" to slow the rate of increase in the charges also applies (analogous to the arrangement made by route operators) under section 37 ERegG.

Please note that since the entry into force of the amended ERegG on 18 June 2021 regulatory law differentiates between passenger platforms* and passenger stations. Whereas passenger platforms and access routes count as "railway infrastructure" within the meaning of Annex 1 para 2 and para 6 to the ERegG, passenger stations are classified as "service facilities" in Annex 2 para 2(a) to the ERegG .

This differentiation leads to differences in calculating charges. Under Annex 2 para 1(c) to the ERegG the use of railway infrastructure, including the use of passenger platforms and access routes, is part of the minimum access package, and the calculation of usage charges must comply with section 31a ERegG. By contrast the passenger station charges under section 33 ERegG are based on the provisions of section 32 ERegG.

Both the charges for the use of passenger platforms and the charges for the use of passenger stations are generally subject to approval. This is addressed in section 31a ERegG and section 33(1) sentence 1 para 2 ERegG .

  • Further information about the charge approval procedure for operators of passenger stations and passenger platforms** that do not also operate rail networks is available at approval procedure.


  • For route operators that also operate passenger platforms, further information about calculating charges for their passenger platforms is available in the section of this site about railway lines and track access charges.

  • By contrast operators of passenger stations and passenger platforms that are exempt from the charge approval requirement (for example under section 2(5) or (6) of the old version of the ERegG or under section 2a(5) and section 2b of the new version of the ERegG) must submit their new or updated charges to the Bundesnetzagentur as part of the notification requirement set out in section 72 sentence 1 para 5 ERegG. Further information is available in the section about information on other service facilities and usage charges.
*Passenger platforms are the area of the rail network where passengers board and alight from the trains, including all equipment and structures that are not legally assigned to the operation of the passenger station (see definition in section 1(26) ERegG).

**An operator of a passenger platform is any operator of railway infrastructure that is responsible for the construction, the operation, the service and maintenance, and the renewal of passenger platforms including the access to these passenger platforms (see definition in section 1(5) ERegG).

Other service facilities and usage charges

Railway infrastructure includes not only rail networks, passenger platforms and passenger stations, but also important for railway operations are other facilities that are needed prior to and following a train movement. All of these facilities grouped together are referred to as service facilities.

This does not mean that one service facility is like another, rather there is a large range of facilities for which the legislators make different provisions due to their varying degree of relevance for competition.

The charges for using these service facilities are also monitored by the Bundesnetzagentur. Although the charges are not subject to approval, they must be cost-oriented and may not contain any components that are discriminatory, inappropriate or non-transparent. Further details are available in other subsections of the website.


Rail sector charges
Bundesnetzagentur, Tulpenfeld 4, 53113 Bonn

Phone: +49 228 14 - 7050