EU launches website European Year of Rail

Shortly before the beginning of the new year, the European Commission launched the website of the European Year of Rail 2021. The initiative places the train in the spotlight as a smart and sustainable means of transport. In the Year of Rail, milestones are set for increasing the market share of rail transport, and contributing to the objectives of the EU Green Deal to reduce CO2 emissions with sustainable mobility.

To highlight the key role of rail for the economy, industry and society in the European Union, the EU has designated 2021 as the European Year of Rail. Despite the many advantages of the train, only about 7 percent of passengers and 11 percent of goods are transported by rail.

The European Year of Rail aims to significantly increase the market share of rail passenger and freight transport. “Through a variety of actions, we will take this opportunity to help rail realise its full potential”, says Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport.

Events

The recently launched website features information and events, with the first being the European Railway Award 2021 from CER and UNIFE on January 25. In addition, there are also events specifically related to the Year of Rail. The official kick-off will be on March 29, 2021, marking the beginning of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Companies and organizations are encouraged to participate to promote and improve the railways. “The European Year of Rail is an opportunity for us to rediscover this way of traveling. I invite all of you to participate in the European Year of Rail”, says Vălean.

Action plan

The legislative agenda of the Commission will also reflect the European Year of Rail, with proposals for a new industrial partnership for rail transport, better connections between rail and other modes of transport, according to the Commission. They also have the ambition to make freight transport more sustainable, as set out in the sustainable and smart mobility strategy recently adopted by the Commission. It aims to double rail freight transport and triple high-speed trains by 2050.

In 2021, the Commission will present an action plan to boost passenger transport by rail. The strategy will provide measures to improve capacity and ticket sales for different modes of transport to further increase the attractiveness of the railways.

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Author: Esther Geerts

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