Europe’s Rail officially launched during the European Railway Summit in the context of the French Presidency of the European Union




Today, during the European Railway Summit, organised by SNCF in the context of the French Presidency of the European Union, saw the official launch of Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking. During the ceremony, representatives from the European Commission and the rail sector, including Europe’s Rail 25 Founding Members, expressed their expectations for Europe’s largest rail research and innovation programme worth €1.2 billion. The launch ceremony was attended by several Ministers of Transport of the Member States, including Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, French Minister Delegate for Transport and President of the Transport Council, and watched by hundreds of online viewers.

The event was kicked-off by speeches from the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean and European Commission’s Director-General for Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei who summarised some of the success stories of the former Shift2Rail programme and expressed their hopes for the future.

Commissioner Vălean stated: “The EU citizens need a modern, efficient, reliable, flexible and affordable rail system. Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking laid the foundations for the EU rail research and development. The Shift2Rail Catalogue of Solutions is a great summary of its achievements that includes an impressive number of new products and methods. I count that the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking will further accelerate rail innovation but also its uptake and deployment on the ground.”

Adding to the comments of Commissioner Vălean, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “With a contribution of €600 million from Horizon Europe and an even larger contribution from the rail industry, Europe’s Rail is the most important rail R&I initiative ever.”

The launch ceremony was also an opportunity to hear the expectations from the railway operators, represented by Andreas Matthä, Chairman of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER).

Mr Matthä stated: “Railways are a reliable and indispensable partner in reaching the EU’s climate targets. The output of Europe's Rail Joint Undertaking will give the railways an important boost in making climate commitments a reality. As CEO of Austrian Railways, I look forward to contributing to this demand-driven research and innovation programme. As Chair of CER, I highly commend the decision makers’ ambition in joining forces towards climate neutrality, despite the economic challenges of the pandemic. The railways will cooperate with the industry partners in the best possible way to contribute to this transformation.”

Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman of the Union of European Railway Industries (UNIFE) provided the views and expectations from the railway manufacturers, commenting: “The European Rail Supply Industry is thrilled to embark on Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking journey. Increasing the focus on rail research and innovation is crucial to achieve the ambitious objectives to decarbonise the transport sector. If we truly want rail to be the backbone of a sustainable mobility, we need to deliver new technologies and solutions that will make rail more attractive, reliable, cost efficient and even more environmental-friendly. Research and innovation is also key to maintaining the European Rail Supply Industry’s worldwide competitiveness and leadership.”

During the event, Europe’s Rail Executive Director, Carlo Borghini, unveiled the new Europe’s Rail logo, which was co-created by the 25 Founding Members, showcasing the collaborative nature of the partnership. A special recognition goes to ANGELRAIL consortium led by MERMEC Group who designed the winning logo. Representatives from all 25 Europe’s Rail Member companies were invited on stage by Europe’s Rail Executive Director to state their commitment to the programme during the ceremony. The statement was followed by group a photo, including CEOs and Presidents from some of Europe’s Rail Founding Members.

During the exchange with the Founding Members, Mr Borghini, said: “I am really glad to see that the launch of Europe’s Rail has attracted such strong interest and attention, clearly indicating the benefit of partnerships such as Europe’s Rail. I am honoured to have here together with me the Commissioner, Ministers and all Europe’s Rail Founding Members, marking a new chapter for improving and modernising rail in Europe. Europe’s Rail will build upon the successes of Shift2Rail and ensure that the solutions coming from the programmes are deployed in the market. We are looking forward to launching our first Call for Proposals next month and fully begin our activities.”

The event was a perfect occasion for the European railway community to acknowledge the role of the Europe’s Rail JU in shaping and transforming the rail system to contribute to delivering the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, funding Research and Innovation and pushing for the deployment of the innovative technological and operational solutions in the market.

The objective of Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking is to deliver a high-capacity integrated European railway network by eliminating barriers to interoperability and providing solutions for full integration, covering traffic management, vehicles, infrastructure and services, aiming at faster uptake and deployment of projects and innovations. This should exploit the huge potential for digitalisation and automation to reduce rail’s costs, increase capacity, and enhance its flexibility and reliability, and should be based upon a solid Reference Functional System Architecture shared by the sector, in coordination with the European Union Agency for Railways, while supporting the development of a strong and globally competitive European rail industry. This will be achieved through its Calls for Proposals, with the first Open Call due to be launched in March 2022.

Europe’s Rail Communication (+32 2 541 83 82) - communication@rail-research.europa.eu

Contact: Catherine Cieczko, Chief Communication Officer a.i. - catherine.cieczko-ext@rail-research.europa.eu