The 2019 European Railway Award was presented to Catherine Trautmann, for her long-standing support of rail transport, including light rail in urban areas, high speed passenger lines and expanding the rail network across Europe in the framework of the European Union’s TEN-T Programme. The Award was handed over to Catherine Trautmann by Philippe Citroën, UNIFE Director General, and Libor Lochman, CER Executive Director, during a special ceremony at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, held on 20 February in Brussels.
“I am honoured to receive the 2019 European Railway Award, expressing a recognition by the sector of my long-standing support to the development of the European railways and sustainable mobility system. I chose to dedicate the prize money to a project of the European Disability Forum, that will help creating a Europe wide database to signal accessibility issues in the different transport modes. My belief and learning from past projects is that integrating accessibility into the design of urban and long-distance rail transport is a motor of innovation. That is exactly what is needed to keep the rail sector at the forefront of the future mobility system,” Catherine Trautmann said when accepted the European Railway Award for 2019.
The award was accompanied by a donation of EUR 10.000 to the charity of the laureate’s choice. Catherine Trautmann decided to give her prize money to the European Disability Forum, an NGO founded in 1996 that defends the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities.
Catherine Trautmann, the former Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Industry, Research & Energy Committee, from 2004 until 2014, has strongly supported the European rail supply industry. In its previous role, as the Mayor of Strasbourg, she took the decision to rebuild a tramway network in city and inaugurated the first line in 1994. Since October 2014, Trautmann has continued to support the rail sector as European Coordinator for the TEN-T North Sea-Baltic Corridor. She is known for her strong backing of the East European TGV project in France, her vocal support of Shift2Rail, and more recently her decisive role in favour of the Rail Baltica project.
At the event, a round-table discussion was organized, on the theme of ‘A strong rail network for European mobility’ with the participation of top EU transport policymakers and rail sector stakeholders. “Is rail a priority? We have invested over 16 billion euros in more than 250 railway projects through the Connecting Europe Facility – they are 70% of the total CEF funding,’ the European Commission Director-General for Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei, said.
“As transport volumes grow, rail becomes ever more important as an integral part of a sustainable mobility system. The upcoming EU budget should reflect this and make the digitalization of EU railways a priority both through the Connecting Europe Facility and Shift2Rail 2 – because with digital technologies, we increase the capacity of our rail network, secure full availability of its assets, enhance passenger experience, and thus strengthen our rail networks and Europe’s transport sector altogether,“ UNIFE Chair and CEO of Siemens Mobility, Sabrina Soussan, said.