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EU Council adopts SHIFT²RAIL R&D regulation

The EU Council has pledged a “new era for rail research and innovation” across the continent, after the official establishment of the SHIFT²RAIL Joint Undertaking.

SHIFT²RAIL is a joint effort by the European rail sector and the European Union to create a step-change in rail technology to meet three major targets: enhancing the capacity of the European rail system to cope with increased user demand; increasing the reliability and quality of rail services; and significantly reducing the life cycle cost of the overall system.

Following the Council’s adoption of the regulation establishing the programme, it is hoped that this R&D Public-Private Partnership (PPP) will make rail transport more attractive to millions of European passengers and freight users – boosting the competitiveness of the most sustainable mode of land transport.

Philippe Citroën, director general of UNIFE, the European Rail Industry Association coordinating the preparation of the SHIFT²RAIL initiative, said: “UNIFE would like to thank all the European institutions and especially the Greek Presidency for adopting SHIFT²RAIL.

“The adoption of SHIFT²RAIL is the culmination of years of preparation by a myriad of stakeholders and is an essential achievement for the future of the rail industry and the whole rail sector in Europe. The rail industry looks forward to actively participating in the R&D activities that this new PPP will soon launch.”

SHIFT²RAIL, which is supported by nearly 140 organisations, will encompass research, innovation and demonstration activities in all aspects of the rail system.

The project will receive €920m in funding, co-financed by the EU and the private sector under the Horizon2020 budget across the six year lifespan of the initiative. 

RTM reported in December that 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 in 2013, 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.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Nonsuchmike   20/06/2014 at 17:44

At last a joined up, researched and integrated Europe-wide approach to bolstering and expanding rail usage across GB and the continent for freight as well as passengers. How long have we waited in vain for this previously? I applaud the three main objectives outlined in the article, yet the sceptic in me wonders how long it is before narrow sectarian interests; either public, private or governmental; drive a horse and cart through these initiatives? Keep us informed, RTM. I am watching this space like a hawk as a very interested party, and so will half of the UK.

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