Non-federally owned railways; application for railway licences and permits, implementation of planning approval or plan approval procedures

As a general rule, it is not permitted to provide rail transport services in public transport, to participate in general rail operations or to operate a railway infrastructure without a company licence. As a rule, operating facilities of non-federally owned railways may only be built or modified if a planning approval or planning authorisation procedure has been carried out beforehand. In the case of railways which are not wholly or majority owned by the Federal Government (non-federally owned railways), the necessary approvals and permits are generally granted by Land authorities. In certain cases, federal authorities may also be responsible.


The approval criteria include:

  • planning approval, planning authorisation
  • Company licence in accordance with § 6 of the General Railway Act (AEG) for the provision of rail transport services, the operation of a railway infrastructure or for independent participation in rail transport with railway vehicles.
  • Permission to open an operation
  • Confirmation of the appointment of railway operations managers

The competent authority for company licences in accordance with § 6 AEG is the Bavarian State Ministry of Housing, Construction and Transport. In other respects, the Governments of Central Franconia (for railways based in Central Franconia, Upper Franconia, the Upper Palatinate or Lower Franconia) or the Government of Upper Bavaria (for railways based in Lower Bavaria, Upper Bavaria or Swabia) are responsible for permits and ongoing supervision (railway supervision), as well as for planning approval procedures.


The company licence is granted if the applicant as a company and the persons appointed to manage the business are reliable, competent and financially capable and thus the operation of a railway can be managed safely. The requirements for proving the licensing prerequisites are regulated in more detail in §§ 6 to 6h AEG.

A planning approval / planning permit for the construction or modification of railway operating facilities can be granted if mandatory statutory provisions do not conflict with the project and conflicting public or private interests can be overcome in the course of a weighing-up process.

Permission to open operations is granted if other public-law requirements for railways are met, in particular if the entrepreneur has appointed railway managers to the required extent and the appointment has been confirmed by the supervisory authority, and if the operating facilities and/or railway vehicles are in proper condition.



Required documents

  • Depending on the procedure, very different documents are required. Further information can be obtained from the competent authorities.


    • Plan approval/plan approval: per mille rate depending on the investment costs.
    • Other official acts within the scope of railway supervision and licensing: € 50 to 12,000

Status: 11.11.2021

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wohnen, Bau und Verkehr

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