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The Railways Infrastructure (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Framework agreements

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21.—(1) Subject to the requirements of this regulation, and without prejudice to articles 101, 102 and 106 of the Treaty, an infrastructure manager may enter into a framework agreement with an applicant for the purpose of specifying the characteristics of the infrastructure capacity required by and offered to the applicant over a period of time exceeding one working timetable period.

(2) An applicant who is party to a framework agreement may apply for the allocation of capacity in accordance with the terms of that agreement.

(3) Whilst seeking to meet the legitimate commercial needs of the applicant, and without prejudice to paragraph (11), a framework agreement must not specify any train path in detail.

(4) The effect of a framework agreement must not be such as to preclude the use of railway infrastructure subject to that framework agreement by other applicants or services.

(5) A framework agreement must contain terms permitting the amendment or limitation of any condition contained in that framework agreement if such amendment or limitation would enable more efficient use to be made of the railway infrastructure.

(6) A framework agreement may contain penalties applicable on modification or termination of the agreement by any party.

(7) Other than in circumstances described in paragraphs (8) and (9), a framework agreement made in accordance with paragraph (1) will in principle be for a period of five years renewable for periods equal to its original duration, provided that the infrastructure manager may agree to a shorter or longer period in specific cases.

(8) Subject to paragraphs (9) and (10), a framework agreement for a period of longer than five years must be justified by the existence of commercial contracts, specialised investments or risks.

(9) Subject to paragraph (10), a framework agreement in relation to railway infrastructure which has been designated in accordance with regulation 25(2) (“a designated infrastructure framework agreement”) may be for a period of up to fifteen years where there is a substantial and long term investment justified by the applicant.

(10) A framework agreement for a period in excess of fifteen years may be made in exceptional cases, which may be justified by the existence of large-scale and long-term investment and in particular where such investment is covered by contractual commitments.

(11) Whilst respecting commercial confidentiality, the general nature of each framework agreement must be made available by the infrastructure manager to any interested party.

(12) An application for a designated infrastructure framework agreement to which paragraph (9) or (10) applies may specify the capacity characteristics, including the frequency, volume and quality of the train paths, to be provided to the applicant for the duration of the framework agreement in sufficient detail to ensure these are clearly established.

(13) The infrastructure manager may reduce capacity reserved under the terms of a designated infrastructure framework agreement to which paragraph (9) or (10) applies where, over a continuous period of at least one month, that capacity has been used less than the threshold stipulated in the network statement.

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