EUROPE: The European Commission and European Investment Bank have announced a Green Rail Investment Platform, which is intended to help the rail sector access EU financing and advisory support for investment in rolling stock, electrification, new business models and technology.

GRIP will support investment in infrastructure, rolling stock and digital systems, in particular:

  • development of the rail network, its renewal and enhancement;
  • acquisition and modernisation by operators and leasing companies of rolling stock for both PSO and commercial services, including night trains and freight services;
  • development of intermodal transport, including terminals, rolling stock and cross-border facilities;
  • digitalisation and automation of planning, operational and commercial processes.

State aid rules on the public funding of interoperable rolling stock for cross-border services will also be clarified by 2023.

The commission said setting up new rail services requires large investment in rolling stock, and although most long distance cross-border services can be operated commercially, there is a need to ‘kick-start’ the availability of vehicles. This could be achieved through public support for the creation of pools of long distance cross-border rolling stock, or the mitigation of commercial risks for leasing companies. To preserve a level playing field, such public support should be given under clear and non-discriminatory framework conditions.

‘Rail transport will be the backbone of Europe’s future climate-neutral transport system’, said EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters on December 14. ‘It is the only mode of transport that has reduced its emissions and energy consumption since 1990. That is why investing in rail is a top priority for EIB. The new Green Rail Investment Platform will help the rail sector to access EU investment financing and advisory support more easily.’