Strengthen European industrial and trade networks through efficient rail freight transport

4 Juni 2024

A joint paper with proposals for the 2024-2029 legislative period, 4th June 2024

RailGood joined forces with the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA), International Union for Road-Rail Combined Transport (UIRR) and the German association Die Güterbahnen to publish a joint paper that directly addresses the politicians and political parties running for the European Parliament in coming elections.

Resilient growth of the European economy should be based on a decisive pursuit of all-out resource productivity of labor, energy, infrastructure, and environmental and climate performance. 

Rail freight transport and door-to-door combined transport substantially outperforms its unimodal road alternative in each of these.

The opportunity to engineer a leap in modal shift towards rail freight and intermodal transport is here and now.

Therefore, EU's rail policy must be strengthened to allow the share in rail freight transport in the modal choice of shippers to grow. The focus must be on three priorities:

  1. Strengthening intermodal and intramodal competition on the European railway network,
  2. Rail must be given priority in intermodal investment decisions,
  3. New and expanded railway infrastructure with a European perspective.

The European infrastructure network must be developed with (also) focus on the needs of freight transport, while adequate quality and quantity of railway capacity should be allocated to freight trains. Maintenance and renewal of rail infrastructure require harmonized coordination. Infrastructure managers should be regulated and incentivized to limit customer inconvenience when planning track works. Infrastructure charges must be taken in a multimodal context, considering how changes to charges will impact modal shift. The regulatory framework should be developed in a mode-neutral way, building on the principles of multi- and intermodality as a network, harmonization, and homogeneity. Expansion and new construction of railway

infrastructure must comply with the EU TEN-T requirements. A successful and business friendly

ERTMS deployment strategy requires Europewide harmonization. Policy regie is necessary to ensure future-proof and affordable ERTMS, also in relation to the implementation of FRMCS. Innovations in rail freight transport must be promoted across the entire EU. A transition must be made from technology push to a focus on customer value and economic feasibility for carriers.

Strengthen European industrial and trade networks through efficient rail freight transport! That is good for the economy, the environment, and the climate. We can only keep Europe moving with strong rail freight transport.