1. What is the Corridor OSS?

The Corridor OSS is a joint body which has been designated by the IMs/ABs along the corridor to manage in a single place and in a single operation path requests for freight trains crossing at least one border along the corridor (according to Article 13 of EU Regulation 913/2010).
On RFC North Sea - Baltic DB Netz has been appointed to execute this task on behalf of the IMs/ABs along the corridor. 

2. What is PCS?

The “Path Coordination System (PCS)” is an internet-based application for handling international path requests provided by RailNetEurope (RNE). PCS is the mandatory tool for all path requests on PaP and reserve capacity.

3. How to get access to PCS?

Access to the tool is free of charge and granted to all applicants who have a valid, signed PCS User Agreement with RNE. To receive access to the tool, applicants have to send their request to RNE via support.pcs@rne.eu.

4. How to get informed about terms and conditions of the Corridor?

Terms and conditions can be found in the Corridor Information Document (CID), Book 4. This document is published in the download area.

Pre-arranged Path (PaP)

1. What is a Pre-arranged path (PaP)?

A PaP is an international pre-constructed catalogue path based on standard parameters for rail freight and offered by the Corridor OSS on basis of Article 13 and 14 of EU Regulation 913/2010.
On RFC North Sea - Baltic PaPs will be an assembly of several PaP sections / segments and not an entire PaP from Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Antwerpen to Kaunas or Praha. According to the “supply offer model” PaPs do not include terminals and/or facilities (e.g. stabling sidings etc.) however the connection from/to a terminal or facilities can be requested in form of a feeder/outflow paths (see question 12). RFC North Sea – Baltic offers two types of PaPs, Fix PaPs and Flex PaPs

2. What is a Fix PaP?

A Fix-PaP is a PaP defined by fixed data (departure times, arrival times, times at the border/handover points between IMs). Fix data cannot be changed. This type of PaPs are currently offered by ProRail and Infrabel.

3. What is a Flex PaP?

A Flex-PaP is a PaP defined by some fixed data (mainly times at the border/handover points between IMs) and the indication of a range of flexible data (e. g. standard running time, location and duration of stops for intermediate / operational points). This type of PaPs are currently offered by DB Netz, SZDC, PKP-PLK and Lithuanian Railways.

4. Do PaPs have special train parameters?

The PaP shows the maximal possible train parameters on the concerning segment.

5. When and where will the Corridor OSS publish the PaP catalogue?

The PaP catalogue will be published mid-January of each year for the following network timetable (11 months before timetable change). The PaP will be shown in the IT-Tool PCS of RNE and a PaP catalogue will be published on the website of RFC North Sea -Baltic.

6. In which way a PaP is protected / reserved for international rail freight?

PaPs are protected in the IMs planning system/tool against major changes due to other path requests during the allocation phase performed by the Corridor OSS. In this sense PaPs are dedicated for international rail freight only.

7. Who is entitled to apply for PaPs (authorized applicants)?

According to article 15 of the Regulation (EU) 913/2010 and the Directive 2012/34/EU, an applicant means a railway undertaking (RU) or an international grouping of RUs or other persons or legal entities, such as shippers, freight forwarders and combined transport operators, with a commercial interest in procuring infrastructure capacity.
Applicants will have to appoint railway undertaking for PaPs 30 days before the running day. The Corridor OSS will check the legitimation of the applicant before/during the allocation phase to be sure that the applicant is allowed to request capacity. 

8. Where, when and how a PaP request can be placed?

The PaP request can only be placed in PCS by choosing the relevant PaP from the catalogue and by copying/creating it in PCS, in a so called PCS dossier. The request may include feeder and outflow paths by adding an additional operational point to the PaP request.
The deadline for placing the PaP request is the usual deadline for path ordering for annual timetable which is the second Monday in April – as published in RNE Process Calendar under link http://www.rne.eu/process-calendar.html
Requests for a Flex-PaP have to respect the fixed data and the given range of flexible data. Within the given range the applicant may shape the request according to his individual needs (e. g. by choosing the location / duration of stops) without exceeding the given running time per PaP section. 

9. In case of Flex-PaP is it possible to request stops at any point along the corridor?

It’s allowed if the PaP request does not exceed the flex PaP constrains (maximum number of stops, maximum stopping time, standard running time of the PaP section).

10. May I apply for feeder/outflow paths in connection to PaPs?

Yes, you may apply at the Corridor OSS for feeder/outflow paths in connection to PaPs if the feeder/outflow paths concern train paths of the rail infrastructure managers along the corridor.
Terminal slots and other facilities (e.g. stabling sidings, etc.) have to be requested at the responsible entities itself (see Corridor Information Document Book 3).
The Corridor OSS will ask the concerned national IM/AB to produce the relevant timetable offer for the feeder/outflow path. Questions occurring during the path elaboration process of the feeder may also be discussed and arranged between you and the concerned IM directly. The Corridor OSS will consolidate the timetable offer (PaP incl. feeder/ouflow) and communicate the entire timetable offer (PaP incl. feeder/outflow) to you.

11. In case of Flex-PaP is it possible to join or leave the corridor with feeder and outflow paths at any point along the corridor?

Yes, at intermediate points it is possible to join and leave the corridor. The schematic map of the corridor (see CID Book 4,  chapter shows the points in detail.

12. What happens if I apply for PaP after the official application deadline (late request)?

The Corridor will not offer a specific path product for late path request.
Applications placed after the official deadline for annual timetable (=late requests) will be forwarded by the Corridor OSS to the concerned infrastructure managers for further treatment. The infrastructure managers will decide upon late requests in remaining capacity. The result/timetable offer will then be communicated to you via the Corridor OSS/ PCS as your single point of contact.

13. What happens if I withdraw/change my path request before accepting the final path offer?

The withdrawal has to be done in PCS. The national conditions for withdrawal of a PaP request is described in the Networks Statements of the individual IMs and can also be found in Book 4 of the Corridor Information Document, chapter 3.7.
Change requests for PaP placed by the applicant after the X-8 deadline until X-5 are treated by the Corridor OSS according to the following rule:

A. "Downsizing" changes to the PaP request (e.g. cancellation of running days, shortening of route by deleting entire PaP sections, lower parameters, except in sections with minimum parameter if the downsizing falls below the minimum parameter) that neither affect the international character of the PaP nor the ranking of the request in the allocation decision according to the priority rule are handled by the C-OSS and documented in the PCS dossier and path register accordingly.

B. "Substantial" changes to the PaP request affecting the fixed border times and/or the ranking of the request in the allocation decision according to the priority rule, and downsizing below the minimum parameter, are viewed as complete cancellations of the PaP request. Those change requests are then forwarded to the IM/AB concerned for further treatment (following national processes) within the remaining capacity.

Allocation on Pre-arranged Paths (PaPs)

1. How does the Corridor OSS make the allocation decision on PaP in case of conflicting requests?

In this case the C-OSS applies the Corridor specific priority rules as written in the Framework for Capacity Allocation, which can be found in download area.

2. What is a Network PaP?

A Network PaP is not a path product. However, certain PaPs may be designated by corridors as ‘Network PaPs’, in most cases for capacity requests involving more than one corridor. Network PaPs are designed to be taken into account for the definition of the priority of a request, for example on PaP sections with scarce capacity. The aim is to make the best use of available capacity and provide a better match with traffic demand

3. When will I be informed about the allocation decision?

By the end of April you will receive preliminary information on the result of the PaP allocation decision of the Corridor OSS (which means 2 months earlier than in the regular timetable process).

4. Do I have to apply again if the PaP has been allocated to a competing applicant?

No – your request is in any case valid as on-time request for the network timetable. You will receive an alternative PaP or tailor-made offer by the Corridor OSS if available.

5. How will the draft / final path offer be submitted? 

The draft and final path offer will be submitted in the PCS-Tool.

6. Who is my contracting partner for the infrastructure usage contract?

Your contracting partners for the infrastructure usage contract are the individual national IMs not the Corridor OSS itself.

7. How to cancel paths after concluding the usage contract and with which consequences?

For cancellations the individual user conditions of the national infrastructure managers published in the national Network Statements and also listed in the Corridor Information Document Book 4, chapter 3.7.4.

Reserve Capacity

1. What is reserve capacity?

Reserve Capacity will be offered, if remaining capacity is still available on the corridor in form of a flexible approach - certain number/contingent of capacity slots for international rail freight per day and corridor segment published by the Corridor OSS. Customers may place path requests at the Corridor OSS for their ad-hoc traffic in the range of the published reference running times until 30 days before the first day of operation whereas short-term traffic under 30 days still needs to be requested at the individual infrastructure managers. The timeframe for Reserve Capacity requests is +/- 3 hours from the reference point the RU indicates (start or end of request).

2. How and when will reserve capacity be published?

If remaining capacity will be still available on the corridor, Reserve Capacity will be published in October for the upcoming timetable period on the website of the Corridor North Sea Baltic.

3. How will reserve capacity be allocated?

Reserve Capacity will be allocated by the Corridor OSS according to the “first come, first serve” principle.