EU reaffirms its railway sector development plan
“Rail transport is a growing sector, as confirmed by UNIFE’s study of the global rail market, which predicts an annual growth of 3% until 2027. The future is promising, but we have to look where we are today with the railways”, said Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport at the opening ceremony of InnoTrans. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to RailwayPro.
The Commissioner explained that rail transport and infrastructure must be improved to reduce travel time and attract more passengers while helping to reduce emissions. “I couldn’t take the train from Brussels to Berlin because the 7-hour travel time over 750 km is too long and doesn’t fit into my busy schedule. The railway has suffered from a lack of interested investment and no amount of government subsidies or EU measures to promote competition can compensate for the lack of a decent railway system. For the time being, some Member States have resigned themselves to lower productivity and poor service. We have seen poor maintenance, insufficient investment in equipment and rolling stock, poor enforcement of EU legislation, and no or slow progress on interoperability in the single market.”
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The Commissioner mentioned that Brussels is committed to the development of the railway sector, which will help achieve the goals of the EU Green Deal. For this reason, the Mobility Strategy focuses on rail transport, which will help the sector reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to the EU’s climate-neutral 2050 target. In addition, this mode of transport will contribute to the consolidation of the single market by providing better cross-border connectivity. “From our side, the proposal to revise the TEN-T Guidelines will improve the cross-border rail infrastructure and major rail lines in Europe. We want our European capitals to be connected by high-speed rail. The Resilience and Recovery Fund and Structural Funds can be used to modernize infrastructure and rolling stock,” Valean explained.
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In December, the EC presented its action plan on long-distance rail passenger transport, and an initiative is expected to be presented in 2023 to improve cross-border capacity management, as well as solutions for integrated long-distance multimodal passenger tickets. “Passengers want easier ticket sales with enough guarantees to use the train more often.”
By developing the rail sector, introducing new technologies and providing better services, the EU aims to increase rail freight transport by 50% by 2030 and then double it until 2050, as well as double high-speed rail transport by 2030 and triple it by 2050.
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