This morning, the Court of Justice of the EU handed down its judgment in the Westbahn case. The Court reaches conclusions similar to those of the Advocate General (discussed earlier on this blog: 'Better information on delayed train connections - opinion of AG Jääskinen'). As summarised in the press release:
'Railway undertakings are therefore obliged to provide information relating to the main connecting services in real time.
The Court finds that that obligation relates to all main connecting services, both those of the railway undertaking concerned and those operated by other undertakings. A restrictive interpretation of the information to which passengers must have access would hinder transfers by them. It would compromise the objective of providing information pursued by EU law, by encouraging passengers to give preference to large railway undertakings which would be in a position to provide them in real time with information relating to all stages of their journey.
As to the obligations of the railway infrastructure manager, the Court observes that, to ensure fair competition on the passenger rail transport market, it must be ensured that all railway undertakings are in a position to provide passengers with a comparable quality of service. Railway undertakings must therefore, for the purposes of the exercise of the right of access to railway infrastructure, be given information by the infrastructure manager in real time relating to the main connecting services operated by other railway undertakings.
In this connection the Court notes that information which is available on screens at the various stations cannot be regarded as being of a confidential or sensitive nature which would prevent its disclosure to the various railway undertakings concerned.
The Court therefore holds that the infrastructure manager is required to make available to undertakings, in a non-discriminatory manner, real time data relating to trains operated by other undertakings, in so far as those trains provide main connecting services.'