Rail Forum Europe event: Investing in rail

23 June 2022

 Rail Forum Europe event: Boosting rail transport and creating a framework for investments in sustainable transport infrastructure

Brussels, 22 June 2022 – On 22 June Rail Forum Europe (RFE)organised its first in-person event of 2022, with a working breakfast that saw Luigi Ferraris, CEO of Italian Railways (FSI), presenting the company’s industrial plan and engaging with Members of the European Parliament and rail stakeholders on important legislative dossiers currently discussed at EU level.

The event, introduced by RFE Chairman MEP Andrey Novakov and MEP Massimiliano Salini, included the participation of MEP Barbara Thaler and MEP Dominque Riquet, co-rapporteurs on the revision of the TEN-T Regulation.

Mr Ferraris presented to the audience the main features of the Italian railways’ industrial plan and highlighted the priorities over the next 10 years term: inter alia, the increased integration of rail and road infrastructure - with approximately 160 billion euros of investments foreseen -and enhanced synergies among the groupe’s bus and train passenger operators,with about 18 billion euros of investment in support of multimodal transport. 

The FSI plan “is geared to respond to the unprecedented challenges that we face today, and it has been designed against the background of the global major undergoing transformations”, Ferraris said during the meeting, and added that “If today we are able to express our vision on a European scale, being active in six different national markets beyond Italy, it is thanks to the opening of the national rail service markets introduced at the EU level and to the progressive creation of a single set of technical rules across the EU borders”.

The meeting provided the occasion to underline the strategic value of the ongoing revision of the TEN-T Regulation as Mr Ferraris insisted on the need to create modern and interoperable connections among the EU capitals and major cities, on the urgent acceleration of ERTMS deployment and on the creation of functional, modern and efficient networks across Europe.

“Revising the TEN-T Regulation gives a real opportunity for EU connectivity to keep up in line with the ambitious climate objectives” said RFE Chairman Andrey Novakov, and added: “Boosting rail passenger and freight services is only possible with a proper and stable funding. Europe needs higher speeds for train services and reduced waiting times at borders.”

MEP Massimiliano Salini, Barbara Thaler and Dominique Riquet took the floor fora first round of comments. Mr Salini underlined how an efficient ERTMS deployment is necessary to guarantee the interoperability without which a Single European Rail Area cannot be implemented. Ms Thaler pointed out that the priority should be finding the adequate tools to push Member States to respect the TEN-T guidelines and do it in a harmonised way, so as to benefit of the positive network effects of an EU-wide network. Mr Riquet underlined the importance of finding adequate resources in the present period of financial constraints.

DG MOVE Director for TEN-T Heralrd Rujiters took the floor to congratulate Mr Ferraris on the ambitious investment plan and to echo Mr Riquet’s concerns regarding lack of funding. CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola explained how ERTMS deployment must be accelerated throughout Europe to increase rail infrastructure capacity and invited the present MEPs to ensure that the European Parliament takes the opportunity of the TEN-T revision to propose a fully-fledged European-wide masterplan for high-speed rail.