30/11/2023 - Press Release - Common Approach Needed for Rail Freight to get through the Alpine Tunnel Closures
Trans-Alpine rail freight traffic is facing serious difficulties. Two of the tunnels which rail freight is reliant on, namely the Frejus and Gotthard Base Tunnel, remain totally or partially closed. Frejus tunnel will remain closed until the end of 2024 due to a landslide which occurred in August, whilst the Gotthard base Tunnel (GBT) will remain partially closed until September 2024 due to a derailment which occurred during the same month. Strategic support measures are required to ensure these temporary restrictions in capacity will not have a severe negative impact on rail freight operators and the sector.
On 17 November, the rapporteur for the Railway Capacity Regulation, Ms. Tilly Metz, presented her draft report. The draft report represents a significant improvement on the Commission proposal and forms a good basis for establishing a European Parliament position on the Regulation. Of note, the Regulation strengthens the role of infrastructure users, introduces a clearer governance structure and a more ambitious implementation plan.
During the ERFA Board of Directors meeting held on 16 November 2023 in Milan (I), the decision was taken to re-elect Dirk Stahl as ERFA President and Maciej Gladyga as ERFA-Vice President. Both mandates are for a two-year period up until November 2025. This period will involve a lot of change within the European Institutions, with European elections in May 2024, and with it a new European Commission and Parliament. In the short term, it will also involve closing strategically important files such as the TEN-T and Capacity Management Regulation as well as the revision of the Combined Transport Directive and State Aid Guidelines for Railway Undertakings.
10/11/2023 - Press Release - Ambitious Track Access Charges Policy Needed to Reach Green Deal and Modal Shift Objectives
For rail freight to be able to meet the modal shift objectives of increasing rail freight volumes by 50% by 2030 and doubling volumes by 2050 , it needs to be cost competitive with other modes of transport, particularly road. This will require the implementation of Track Access Charge regimes which looks to ensure parity in cost for road and rail. Recent experiences have shown a fragmented approach to infrastructure charging throughout Europe. In several Member States, Infrastructure Managers are continuously adjusting infrastructure rates to increasingly allow rail to compete. In other cases, the opposite is being observed, where rail is becoming more expensive compared to road, undermining rail freight?s ability to compete.