2021: Renaissance of the railway in Europe?


2021: Renaissance of the railway in Europe?


After environmental associations and the EU Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, called for the strengthening of European rail transport, the European Commission subsequently designated 2021 as the European Year of Rail. This year aims to modernise the rail transport in Europe and support the European Green Deal in the field of mobility.

Due to the lack of focus on rail transport this sector has lost importance over the past decades. As a consequence there still does not exist an unified European railway system. Hence many environmental organisations are calling on the EU and national governments to improve European rail services through new direct connections with day and night trains, more attractive and convenient international rail bookings and investment in cross-border infrastructure.

Moreover, the modernisation could help to achieve the EU's target of becoming climate neutral by 2050. Around 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union are caused by transport. Therefore events, campaigns and initiatives will be used to raise public awareness that the rail sector is sustainable, innovative and safe. Since 1990 rail is the only mode of transport that has been able to reduce its CO2 emissions almost continuously, while at the same time transport volumes have increased.

Ultimately, a better European rail system could connect people and economies in Europe, reduce transport emissions by providing alternatives to road and air transport, and give a green boost to the European economy after Covid-19. Against this background, it is obvious that rail transport will play an important role in the European mobility system of the future. This already shows the recent merger of Alstom and Bombardier which creates the world's second-largest railway manufacturer behind the Chinese group CRRC, which bought 2019/2020 locomotive manufacturing in Germany from Vossloh AG in order to enter the German market.

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