New EN 17343 provides a common grammar for the railways community

Every industrial sector needs a common grammar to work. Having an agreement between all parties involved (manufacturers, subcontractors, clients) on the meaning of technical concepts ensures that all parts of the processes for the development, testing and repair of a product, system or infrastructure are coherent and mutually compatible.

This is particularly true for complex sectors such as railways: in that context, a common terminology is crucial to make sure that the myriad of people working for the manufacturers, the operators and the infrastructure managers share the same understanding. This becomes even more important when it comes to work at the European level, to ensure interoperability of the rails across the whole Single Market.


To avoid misinterpretation between engineers coming from European countries with different cultures of rail engineering, a European standard on railways terminology is a precious asset.


Hence, CEN is proud to announce that a new version of EN 17343:2023 ‘Railway applications - General terms and definitions’ has been developed by CEN/TC 256 ‘Railways applications’.


This new edition contains numerous updates: improved definitions; addition of rolling stock and infrastructure related terms, as well as general terms; adaptation of the structure; and it also has an additional section to present the use of the terms in heavy rail and/or urban rail systems.


With more than 120 entries, this European ‘bible’ for railways terminology articulates definitions of dedicated CEN, CENELEC, ISO and IEC standards, ISO/IEC Guides, CEN and CENELEC Guides and specific terminology databases. It also tries to reflect the terms and definitions used in relevant Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) of Directive 2016/797/EU on the interoperability of the railway system in EU, as well as those used for rail-bound rolling stock excluded from the scope of TSIs.


In an increasingly complex world, in which being precise on technical terms is central, EN 17343:2023 brings certainty, as well as adaptability, to the evolution of the vocabulary of a bicentenary mode of transport.


The Secretariat of CEN/TC 256 is held by DIN, the German Standardization Institute.



Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on, your device to remember your preferences.

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.

I accept all cookies