European rail CEOs discuss necessary infrastructure and capacity to reach Europe’s climate goals

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European rail infrastructure CEOs from the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) and the association of European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM) have reaffirmed their goal of providing the necessary infrastructure and capacity required to reach Europe’s climate and transport goals.

During their annual high-level meeting in Naples, Italy, yesterday (November 23) the two groups urged policy makers to put the required framework conditions in place.

Discussion focused on the current revision of the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T), which, once finalized, must provide the infrastructural basis required for the successful implementation of the European Green Deal and its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy goals.

CEOs concluded that the timely implementation of the TEN-T network is of utmost importance but was very much dependent on the amount of funding and the framework conditions in place.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss modal shift. The participants identified and discussed certain measures needed on capacity management and European traffic management, such as a quick implementation of Timetable and Capacity Redesign (TTR) and Digital Capacity Management (DCM), as well as the rollout of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

In this context, a surgical and quick review of the rules regulating timetabling, making them more flexible and attuned to the market is required. The participants concluded that the implementation of TTR, DCM and ERTMS is an important step toward more capacity for rail. However, the sector relies on the speedy finalization and implementation of the legal framework currently developed by the European Commission.

The rail infrastructure CEOs also discussed, along with the impact of the current energy crisis on infrastructure managers’ sustainability goals, how the concept of sustainability is integrated at their companies into daily business strategies. Participants agreed that a common approach on certain aspects of sustainability might be useful to boost the contribution of the rail sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

CER executive director Alberto Mazzola said, “The Green Deal requires a fundamental shift of traffic to rail that can be accommodated only with a dramatic increase in rail capacity and infrastructure. Such an increase can be achieved through political commitment at national and European level to an accelerated ERTMS deployment and TTR implementation, as well as to the construction of new rail lines for passenger and freight traffic.”

 EIM’s executive director Monika Heiming added, “Rail infrastructure managers are essential to reach EU’s geostrategic, green and digital objectives. The focus on cross-border rail through different initiatives such as the TEN-T, ERTMS and TTR / DCM is essential to make rail a highly competitive mode of transport. To that end, the 2022 HLIM provides an excellent occasion to exchange on the measures needed. Only together can we move forward.”