News 11 Oct 2022

The track to a successful TEN-T for a sustainably connected Europe

The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), in cooperation with MEP Dominique Riquet, Co-Rapporteur on the TEN-T revision, today held an event entitled “The track to a successful TEN-T for a sustainably connected Europe" in the European Parliament in Brussels. The regulatory framework of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is currently being revised by EU lawmakers with much at stake for railways as a key actor in the green transition and decarbonisation of transport.

The proposed revision of the Regulation on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) sets new ambitious infrastructure targets, and a more gradual development of the TEN-T is established with three deadlines: 2030 for the Core Network, 2040 for the extended core Network and 2050 for the Comprehensive Network.

CER believes the proposal represents a great improvement on the current situation and the sector supports elements of the Regulation such as connectivity and development of the regions including last mile-connections, multimodality and enhanced urban nodes, connections with third countries, synergies between European Coordinators overseeing all traffic on the network’s major corridors and specific rail freight governance, as well as the infrastructure requirements with sound targets and deadlines.

However, due to the introduction of these ambitious and reinforced targets and deadlines, there is an increased need for sufficient financing that goes beyond the current multiannual financial framework and Connecting Europe Facility budget, in line with the actual duration of infrastructure projects. It is essential to lock in sufficient funds to make sure that the development of the rail network of the TEN-T is not compromised.

There is also insufficient focus on high-speed rail in the new text, and CER calls for a High-speed Masterplan. The TEN-T Regulation must promote climate-friendly alternatives like rail and the creation of an interoperable European high-speed network, linking European capitals and major cities, connecting urban nodes and airports and supporting the development of international passenger services.

Moreover, CER calls for further improvements to the text making proposals, among others, to apply:

  • the P/C 400 loading gauge to a predefined list of rail freight routes in the core network;
  • more flexibility in decommissioning of ERTMS class B systems while guaranteeing interoperability;
  • mixed speeds rather than a generalised minimum speed of 160 km/h for passenger services (considering market needs, topography and systematic/synchronised timetables) assuring adequate travel times.

In the policy debate, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Dominique Riquet (Co-Rapporteur on the TEN-T proposal), the European Commission’s Herald Ruijters (Acting Deputy Director-General and Director for Investment, innovative & sustainable transport), and panellists Jirí Svoboda (CEO of Czech rail infrastructure manager SZCZ), MEP Isabel García Muñoz (Shadow Raporteur on TENT-T), Clemens Först (CEO of ÖBB Rail Cargo Group), MEP Massimiliano Salini, and Luigi Corradi (CEO Trenitalia) discussed the importance of infrastructure investments, more competitive rail freight and passenger services. Technical solutions such as ERTMS were also at the centre of the debate as a means to increase the capacity of railway infrastructure. Finally, current and urgent topics such as the price of energy, Time Table Redesign (TTR) and the maintenance of the network all had a place in the discussion.

The policy debate  set the scene for a 3-day exhibition on the third floor of the European Parliament (11-13 October), which features a range of infrastructure projects, from major constructions to missing links, developments in rail passenger and freight services as well as the underlying technology that’s helping to revolutionise the sector for the future. Taking place one year after the epic journey of the Connecting Europe Express train across Europe – the ultimate symbol of rail’s power to connect – visitors also have the opportunity to walk through a replica of one of the coaches as part of the exhibit.

MEP Dominique Riquet said: “Rail is the transport mode that has the highest potential to decarbonise mobility. In order to reach our modal shift goal, thousands of kilometres of lines will need to be modernised or built. The TEN-T ensures that they are built at the best possible locations, standardised and financed."

CER Chair Andreas Matthä (CEO of Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB) said: “The revised TEN-T regulation has the potential to make real the vision of sustainable European mobility. The EU Commission's proposal represents a major improvement compared to the current situation. However, without additional funding, the European railway sector will not be able to provide the capacity required for the decarbonisation of transport. In order to maintain and build new rail infrastructure, as well as to provide the necessary digitalisation, rail companies require adequate financial sources beyond customer-driven revenue streams”.

Left to right: Clemens Först (ÖBB Rail Cargo Group), MEP Isabel García Muñoz, Jirí Svoboda (SZCZ), MEP Dominique Riquet, Alberto Mazzola (CER), Herald Ruijters (European Commission) and Luigi Corradi (Trenitalia).

More details about the exhibition here.