Latest Rail News

17.12.13

Network Rail invests more than £30m in European initiative

The European Commission has announced its support for Shift2Rail, a public-private partnership that will invest €1bn in making rail more attractive to European passengers and freight users.

The initiative, run by the European Rail Industry Association (UNIFE), will bring together research and demonstration activities to improve rolling stock, traffic management and control systems, infrastructure, IT solutions and better freight.

It aims to reduce the life cycle cost of rail by up to 50%, increase capacity by up to 100% and reliability by up to 50%.

Alstom, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier, Siemens, Thales, CAF, Trafikverket and Network Rail have already confirmed that they will each make a contribution of at least €30m to the Shift2Rail initiative, totalling €270m.

Speaking earlier this year, Network Rail’s Andy Doherty said: “Shift2Rail will radically improve the railway system through concrete step changes for the benefit of the customers – which is what Network Rail is committed to.”

The European Commission vice president for transport, Siim Kallas, said: “If we want to get more passengers and freight on Europe's railways, then rail needs provide better services and offer an attractive choice to more customers. For that to happen, rail needs to innovate. This public private partnership is a major breakthrough, it will drive innovation to reduce the costs of rail services, increase capacity and provide more reliable, frequent rail services for customers.”

Commissioner for Research Máire Geoghegan-Quinn added: “This investment will allow for a major industrial effort, combining public and private funding from throughout the whole rail sector, to develop strategic technologies and solutions that will help to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and retain Europe's leadership in the global rail market. This is a perfect demonstration of the leverage effect of the EU budget for growth and jobs.”

Philippe Citroën, director general of UNIFE, said: “Shift2Rail will bring together on a large scale for the first time in our history, industry, railway undertakings, urban operators, infrastructure managers, SMEs and research centres/academia from all over the European Union to solve our collective transport challenges.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image courtesy European Parliament

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