WELL OVER half of the Ecu352m allocated by the European Commission under the Trans-European Networks funding programme for 1997 is being spent on rail projects.

Analysis of the Ecu352m made available for 125 schemes, as notified to 14 of the 15 EU governments by Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock on July 24, shows that pure rail projects plus those with a significant rail element accounted for Ecu220m (Table I). After allowing for the non-rail element in some small multimodal studies, and a substantial road element in the Øresund link and its access routes, the rail total lies between 55% and 60%.

The Commission's White Paper on rail policy published in July 1996 stated that 'rail's share of the passenger market is no more than 6% and that of the freight market 16%.' The fact that rail is getting the lion's share of TEN funding despite this low and declining share of the transport market shows how serious the Commission is about making greater use of rail in the future.

New high speed lines attract about Ecu90m of the rail total, with nearly Ecu43m going into the Köln - Frankfurt and Nürnberg - Berlin Neubaustrecken and their connecting links. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link to London also attracts strong support with Ecu24m going to London & Continental Railways for a design package.

Most of the French funding is earmarked for construction of TGV Est which gets Ecu13m, but as this project is still on hold while a further review takes place, the full amount may not be spent in 1997. The new line from Amsterdam to the Belgian frontier gets serious money for design even though a start date is still uncertain.

Freight support

Though harder to identify, there is robust support for the expansion of international freight within this year's TEN funding. The most conspicuous element is Ecu10m for design of the Betuwe freight line from Rotterdam to the German frontier at Emmerich. However, the Øresund link between Sweden and Denmark - together with the Storebaelt crossing completed earlier this year - will allow several million tonnes a year currently using train ferries to move continuously on rail between Norway, Sweden and continental Europe.

With the Brenner base tunnel still uncertain, Ecu9m has been allocated to the design of improvements to the present route in the lower Inn valley east of Innsbruck; this carries a heavy flow of intermodal freight including rolling motorway services between Germany and Italy.

The Ecu8m provided for loading gauge and power supply enhancement between Genova and Domodossola is also aimed at improving the flow of intermodal traffic through the Alps, this time through the Simplon tunnel; work on enlarging clearances for carrying 4m high lorries on the southern approach to the Simplon tunnel began this summer. o

TABLE: Table I. Trans-European Network funds for rail projects in 1997

Country Project Grant Ecu000

Europe European Rail Traffic Management System 9000

Øresund fixed link: coast-to-coast crossing 20000

Rail access in Denmark 5500

Rail and road access in Sweden 5000

Austria Semmering base tunnel, trial bores 1300

Wels - Passau and Parndorf - Kittsee (Wien - Bratislava) upgrading 3000

Brenner, Lower Inn valley design studies 9000

Wien - St Pölten new line studies 900

Belgium Zaventem airport surface access study 500

Denmark Studies to speed up inter-city trains 1000

Finland Turku - Helsinki - Vainikkala line improvements 3700

Nordic Triangle studies 500

France TGV Est: studies and implementation 13000

TGV Sud: Perpignan - Spanish frontier study 500

Germany Köln-Bonn airport: high speed rail link 2000

Stuttgart 21 through station: trial boring 3500

Study of faster routes to Polish and Czech borders 340

Köln - Rhein/Main Neubaustrecke 24950

Gr?€?bers - Leipzig and Erfurt - Arnstadt (Berlin - Nürnberg) new lines 16000

Great Britain Channel Tunnel Rail Link 24000

West Coast Main Line upgrading and feasibility studies 9000

Trans-Pennine corridor study (multi-modal) 145

Greece Patras to Corinth; gauge conversion study 1 000

Italy Verona - Venezia: high speed and combined transport studies 3000

Venezia - Trieste improvements study 600

Venezia - Tarvisio improvements 3400

North Adriatic line upgrading 8000

Genova - Novara - Domodossola power supply and loading gauge upgrade 8100

Improved access to Verona 4000

Luxembourg Traction power upgrade 1000

Netherlands Antwerpen - Amsterdam new line: design studies 10000

Betuwe freight line design and technical studies 10000

Portugal North line upgrading 2250

Beira Baixa line upgrading 1250

Spain Madrid Barajas airport access study 1 500

Madrid - Zaragoza new line 3600

Madrid - Valladolid new line 3200

Castellon - Oropesa improvements (Mediterranean corridor) 500

Sevilla - Cadiz improvements 1000

Murcia to AVE line connections 500

Portugal - Spain - France links study 800

Sweden Helsingborg - Kävlinge upgrading studies 2000

Varberg - Hamra upgrading studies 1400

Total 219935