Latest Rail News

19.09.12

Single open network for European rail proposed

Europe should develop a single integrated rail network with open competition and common standards, the EU Transport Commissioner has suggested.

Siim Kallas told delegates at InnoTrans yesterday that this could relieve congested roads across the EU. He stated that he will be pushing ahead for reforms requiring national rail networks to open up, which could lead to more direct trains from Britain to Europe.

He said £16bn from European infrastructure funds could be made available for national transport projects to make networks interoperable. He proposed a single central rail agency to certify all new rolling stock, which would be built to one standard across the continent.

Kallas said: “There must be a genuine single market. 80% of people and goods are taken by Europe's roads, and they are saturated. People expect railways to provide some alternatives.”

He pointed to Britain’s franchising model, and said that opening markets up to competition provides better value for money.

But the German transport minister Peter Ramsauer suggested such a move would be “incredibly difficult”, and added: “In Britain, they took it to excess and failed. We will not make that mistake. We will keep a government role.”

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