Railway track

EUROPE: Many cross-border rail routes function like a patchwork of different national systems, and there is an opportunity to reduce journey times by solving technical and operational issues, according to a report from the European Union Agency for Railways.

The Cross-border Rail Transport Potential Report looks at the possible growth in cross-border rail traffic that could be generated by making rail more attractive and competitive through the removal technical and operational barriers.

The study looks at four routes: Wien (Austria) – Győr (Hungary) and Berlin (Germany) – Kostrzyn (Poland) in the passenger market, and Giurgiu Nord (Romania) – Ruse Razpredel (Bulgaria) and Brenner (Italy) – Steinach (Austria) for freight traffic.

Based on its findings, ERA emphasised the need for further reduction of the national rules and further adaptation of the Technical Specifications for Interoperability.

‘Immediate action is needed to remove barriers to cross-border rail transport — both for passenger and freight — in order to finally see the rail modal share grow’, said ERA Executive Director Josef Doppelbauer on December 12. He added that without investment in improving infrastructure and the customer experience, ‘essential modal share targets are at risk’.