29 Jun 2022

UNIFE signs Memorandums of Understanding to study smart and affordable high-speed services needed for a EU shift to rail  

Lyon, 29 June 2022Connecting Europe’s capitals with a smart, affordable and high-speed rail services is key to generating the needed modal shift to rail outlined in the EU Green Deal. Europe’s Rail Supply Industry is deeply committed to realising these ambitions. To that end, UNIFE and other rail associations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (EU-Rail) to complete a study on “Smart and Affordable High-Speed Services in the European Union” in the context of the French Presidency of the European Union. Signed in the presence of Head of European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean’s Cabinet Walter Goetz at Connecting Europe Days on 29 June in Lyon, other signatories included CER and ALLRAIL.

The study’s objective is to demonstrate the most significant, foreseeable benefits of completing an expansive high-speed rail network linking Europe’s capital cities. It will also analyse the necessary amounts and most advantageous timing of investments into the envisaged high-speed rail network and associated services to achieve the modal shift to high-speed rail detailed in the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy by 2050. The study’s authors are also tasked with delineating the impact such a network would have on advancing the completion of a a fully operational, multimodal, sustainable, and smart Trans-European Transport - Network (TEN-T).

An early advocate for the Joint Undertaking’s predecessor, Shift2Rail, UNIFE believes that innovation is central to establishing the next generation of European mobility. Technologies such as the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), Automatic Train Operation (ATO), Big Data and more developed through EU-Rail will be critical to achieving this step change in interconnectivity. The Connecting Europe Days and the Memorandum’s signing, specifically, was an ideal venue for the European railway and transport community to reiterate its commitment to remaining the global leader in the field through research and officially commence our partnership through this study. This initiative will also serve as a valuable knowledge exchange as we seek to plan tomorrow’s European transport paradigm.

Reflecting on the Memorandum of Understanding, Walter Goetz, Head of Cabinet of the European Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean, said: “Our Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy aims to double high speed rail traffic by 2030 and triple it by 2050. I see a central role for rail in our future sustainable transport system, but rail must also fulfil its part in becoming a more attractive choice by getting more efficient, cost-effective and innovative. Development of high-speed rail can certainly help us to get more people to consider rail as their means of transport and as their place of work. I therefore welcome the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding between Europe’s Rail, CER, ALLRAIL and UNIFE to launch a study on ‘Smart and affordable High-Speed services in the EU’. I count that this cooperation will contribute to the transformation of rail transport and will bring modern services better adapted to the EU citizens’ needs.”

Philippe Citroën, Director General at UNIFE, the European Rail Supply Industry Association commented on the new agreement: “High-speed rail has an essential role to play in the decarbonisation and digital transformation of the entire European transport system. By demonstrating the major benefits of a European high-speed rail network, the study will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and of its ambitious objective to double traffic on high-speed rail by 2030 and to triple it by 2050, in full coherence with the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). We look forward to our cooperation on this study to make this vision a reality.”

Carlo Borghini, Executive Director at Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking, added: “I am looking forward to joining forces with CER, ALLRAIL and UNIFE, bringing together the rail community in this important study. I count on important outcomes that will help us go towards a smart and affordable high-speed European rail network. We are looking forward to starting our first research activities and presenting the first outcomes by the end of this year, that will contribute to achieve such integrated H/S network!”

Our association also used the Connecting Europe Days to reaffirm our commitment to decarbonising our economy and society as the European Union continues to face the mounting climate emergency. This was achieved by joining Europe on Rail and other civil society organisations to sign a declaration calling on policy and decision makers to make “rail the first choice for European travel in 2030”. The 2030 European Rail Vision sets 6 objectives that will underwrite the successful shift to rail:

  1. Make rail the backbone of sustainable mobility
  2. Ensure inclusiveness, competitiveness and affordability
  3. Guarantee connectedness, service levels and infrastructure quality
  4. Promote green, fair, attractive, gender-balanced and qualified industry and jobs
  5. Ensure good governance, high quality, reliability and security
  6. Finance and invest in the future of rail

UNIFE looks forward to collaborating with these stakeholders towards a more attractive, user-friendly, competitive, affordable, easy to maintain, efficient and sustainable European rail system. We also will continue to advocate for all European Union institutions and Member States to take bold actions now to achieve a climate-friendly transport system by 2030, based on these six objectives.

More information:
Andrei Ciufu
Head of Communications
+32 2 626 12 64
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