The future of European rail: what to expect from the EU and member states

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

On 13 October, Europe on Rail will hold an online conference on the role of rail within the European Green deal. It will tackle the future of European rail and what to expect from the EU and member states.

The climate and Ukrainian crisis require the EU saving energy and phasing out carbon emissions at unprecedented pace, which can only happen with a dramatic reduction of oil and gas consumption. The role of the transport sector in this effort is key, as it represents around 25% of overall emissions in the EU. Thus, improving cross-border travel is essential to align with the Fit for 55 roadmap, planning for a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030. 

Even with strong political support, air-travel in the best scenarios will take at least until 2050 to become almost climate-compatible. High-speed rail is available today. This makes rail the indicated solution to address climate issues in the transport sector. It is a climate-friendly mode of transportation that has an important role to play in reaching climate targets commitments, and a historic chance to increase its share of travelling across Europe and reduce the share of road and air travel. So far, the share of rail is only 7% of cross-border traffic but with fuel prices and climate costs weighing in on road and air travel, there is an opportunity that rail should take advantage of.

However trans-European services are lacking a competent European coordination mechanism. The rail network is in dire need of solutions regarding interoperability (different gauges, voltages, signalling systems), important missing infrastructure links and coordination between operators and countries to improve services. There are still important bottlenecks that need to be solved in order to acquire an efficient trans-European network.

The conference will reflect on how to align infrastructure investments with our climate targets and who should become a driving force to improve trans-European rail services.

See below the list of prominent speakers that will take the floor during the conference:

Moderation: Jacob Rohm, Coordinator Europe on Rail | Germanwatch

Register here for free to join the conference!
Or follow the livestream on YouTube.

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