European Railfreight Shows Signs of Revival

The article highlights the Eurailfreight conference recently hosted by the Community of European Railways and Infrastructure Companies (CER) in Belgium. European Union (EU) transport commissioner Jacques Barrot stated that the European Commission (EC) is trying to level the transport playing field, and that the rail freight market share, in decline since the 1970s, is now stabilizing and moving into a new era for EU member states. On January 1, 2007, the European rail freight market completely opened. Rail freight liberalization levels have varied according to country under the initial package. A second package is being implemented, and a third is now being considered by the European parliament. Barrot said three developments have occurred: safety has remained unaffected; countries open to competition have seen an increase in rail performance; and corridors with significant operator competition have seen improved service quality in international rail freight. Aad Veenman, CER chairman and Netherlands Railways CEO, said four key areas still need to be addressed: debt; cross-subsidy; charging; and capacity. Another priority given at the conference is mutual acceptance by all EU countries of rolling stock. Debate on versions of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), as well as ERTMS corridors, occurred. Deployment of ERTMS on the most advanced corridor, corridor A, should be largely finished by 2012. Overall corridor development is determined by relevant member states, not the EU. There was also discussion of a coordinated train and infrastructure development strategy. And trials involving the Gigaliner, an articulated truck whose trailer may carry up to 60 tons of freight and measure up to 25 m long, was discussed. Trials of the Gigaliner, which is already operating in Scandinavia, are being performed in the Netherlands and Germany. There is potential loss of 10% of rail freight to road because of it. An insert highlights a discussion with Henry Posner III, chair of the United States' Railroad Development Corporation, on major differences between European and North American rail freight. Issues include physical differences and institutional ones such as competition, regulation, control and funding.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 37-38
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045398
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 27 2007 8:25AM