Free capacities on the public railway infrastructure are required for providing services of transporting passengers and goods on the railway. Railway transport also requires adherence to the predetermined timetable, so every carrier in railway traffic is assigned a train path. A train path refers to the capability of the public railway infrastructure required for the train to drive between two locations at a certain time.
The administrator of the public railway infrastructure SŽ-Infrastruktura assigns train paths to carriers and other applicants in railway transport based on their applications. If the applications are for assigning paths for international train paths, the applicants submit them to one of the bodies on the international train path. Infrastructure administrators of the railway network and the bodies for assigning train paths who are members of the association of infrastructure administrators Rail Net Europe have established one stop shops, which operate in the Rail Net Europe as a network of contact points for customers. Applicants must submit their application for assigning international train paths to one of these one stop shops, which launches the procedure of coordinating an international train path with other infrastructure operators or allocation authorities.
The administrator of the public railway infrastructure assigns train paths to carriers and other applicants in railway transport in two ways:
1. Orders for the new timetable period:
- according to the regular procedure when applications are accepted from 12 to 8 months before the start of the new timetable period, or
- according to the late procedure when applications are accepted from 8 to 2 months before the start of the new timetable period.
2. Orders for train paths for a certain purpose (ad hoc train paths):
- according to the regular procedure when applications are accepted from 30 to 5 days before the transport, or
- according to a shortened procedure when applications are accepted 5 days to 12 hours before the transport, or for international train paths in cargo transport at least 6 hours before the transport.