The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) has launched the Future is Rail campaign following the official launch of the European Year of Rail.
The initiative promotes rail as a smarter, cleaner and more connected means of transport in the EU and shares the objective of encouraging more passengers and businesses to see rail as the future of transport.
“The new CER communication campaign underlines the strength of the entire rail sector in Europe and will further support the positive development of European rail as a solution to achieve the climate targets set,” Andreas Matthä, CER Chairman and CEO of Austrian Federal Railways said.
The European Union’s objective to become a climate-neutral continent by 2050 includes the decarbonisation of the transport system, the second most pollutant emitting sector after energy. A cleaner European transport system must be built around rail. Rail pollutes 8 times less and emits 9 times less CO2 than other modes per unit of traffic. It accounts for just 2% of EU transport energy consumption, while it carries 18% of freight and 8% of passengers. With four out of five trains already running on electricity and plans to phase out the remaining diesel trains by 2050 thanks to alternative fuels, the total decarbonisation of rail transport is within reach.
“Rail is ready to be at the centre of a fully decarbonised transport system in line with the European Green Deal. Investment in rail is an investment in more mobility, more economic activity and more growth, but sustainably. Because rail is cleaner, smarter and makes us more connected. Rail is the future,” CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said.
The Future is Rail campaign is one of the CER flagship initiatives to make the European Year of Rail as lively as possible. A Joint Position Paper signed by sixteen Member States, calls for the EU Commission to launch an initiative in favour of rail freight operators to promote modal shift to clean transport – a plea which we wholeheartedly welcome and hope that many more Member States will join.
Railway transport has an important role to offer a truly connected future. The seamless rail network of tomorrow is being built today through infrastructure works but also cooperation among rail actors in areas such as timetabling processes and simplification of rules and technical requirements for trains crossing borders. With the appropriate political support, high-speed and night trains between our cities can become a real alternative to cheap flights.
Rail is an integral part of a smarter transport system. The sector is embracing digital technology to maximise capacity and provide even safer, more efficient and higher quality services. With transport demand growing, turning to this smart rail system will help beat congestion – the typical freight trains carry as many goods as 40 trucks, and make travelling easier and more comfortable.