ELECTED as Chairman of the Union of European Railway Industries in Brussels on February 16, Rolf Eckrodt confirmed that he planned to continue the strategy of his predecessor Kaare Vagner in making Unife more market oriented. In this he will be backed up by new General Manager Drewin Nieuwenhuis.

Eckrodt identified six main courses of action. Top priority is to improve collaboration between members to promote the use of rail (and improve their business opportunities, of course). Unife is working with UITP on a joint Mass Transit Rail Initiative (Marie), supported by the European Commissioners for Industry and Transport, and will report to a forum on July 7-8.

With 320m euros available for Land Transport & Marine Technology in the EU’s 5th R&D plan, Unife, UIC, and CER are preparing a joint bid. This would fund research into advanced signalling, more efficient production and making passenger services more attractive. At the same time, UIC, CER, UITP and Unife plan a ’Rail Coalition Forum’ to improve communications between EU politicians, officials and the rail industry.

Finally, Unife will continue to push for intermodal development under the European Freight Rail Initiative (Effri), and for interoperability through Ertms .