The crucial role of rail in the decarbonisation plans of the EU

Posted: 30 November 2018 | | 1 comment

Rail is the most sustainable and energy-efficient low-emission transport mode and it plays a crucial role in the decarbonisation of the transport sector.


The European Commission has published its Communication, ‘A clean planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy’, setting the long-term strategy for the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Communication outlines the way forward for the EU climate, energy and transport policies and entails the EU strategy in line with the Paris Agreement that will bring forward a vision of a low-carbon economy protecting the planet and its people.  

CER (the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies), EIM (the Association representing rail infrastructure managers in Europe) and UNIFE (representing the European Rail supply industry) welcome the Commission’s initiative that reiterates Europe’s commitment to be the global leader in worldwide climate action and acknowledge that it is crucial for policymakers to seize the opportunity to accelerate decarbonisation of the transport sector.

Rail is evolving as the backbone of a low-carbon, multimodal transport system and it is therefore the solution to reaching the target of reducing GHG by 60 per cent by 2050, as set in the 2011 Transport White Paper.

CER, EIM and UNIFE urge the decision-makers to increase the modal share of low-emission transport modes and support the further electrification of the rail network. In addition, the support for research and innovation in the rail sector shall continue with the extension of the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking programme under the Horizon Europe Framework Programme 2021-2027.

The three associations wish to present their joint Position Paper on the long-term strategy for GHG emissions reduction, which aims at highlighting the role of rail transport as a whole contributing decisively in the future crucial political discussions and decisions.

One response to “The crucial role of rail in the decarbonisation plans of the EU”

  1. Eldon Horsman says:

    Existing initiatives (including Shift2Rail) will not increase rail freight market share from the current 18% to the ECs target of 30%. Trucks now have 76% of the market.
    Freight market share is determined by customers and they value reliable service above all else – even price.
    To be competitive with trucks, Freight Rail must deliver reliable (approx. 90%) siding to siding Single Wagon Load service – something it is not now doing.
    While new technology will help this is essentially a business process issue

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