The Connecting Europe Express is one of the most emblematic initiatives, presented at European Year of Rail 2021 kick-off conference. The European Year of Rail is shining a light on railways in 2021 as with rail, transport can become smarter, more connected and cleaner. That’s why European aim by 2030 is to double the amount of rail passengers and ensure that at least 30% of freight moves by rail. When it comes to the future of transport, the future is rail!
As of September, the Connecting Europe Express will travel across the EU and stop in most European capitals to promote the many benefits of rail – for passengers, freight and the environment. The project will also raise awareness of the importance of financing sustainable infrastructure such as rail, and EU support for such investment, including through the recently agreed new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), worth €33.7 billion, as part of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027. The train’s journey is possible thanks to good cooperation between European rail operators and infrastructure managers.
Connecting Europe Express is the power of rail to connect
The Connecting Europe Express will be a real, tangible example of the power of rail to connect. At each of the almost 40 stops, events will bring together the rail sector at large, as well as civil society organisations, local and regional authorities, and the wider public, to discuss the benefits of rail, as well as what still has to be done so that rail can become the number one option for passengers and business.
Strong efforts to further integrate and modernise the European railway network are key to rail playing its decisive role in driving a modal shift – that is to say, to encourage more people and businesses to use rail as one way in which to decarbonise transport. This would help the EU meet its ambitious carbon-neutrality objectives, as set out in the EU Green Deal and the European Commission’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. This potential is also why rail has such a central place within the EU’s Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) policy.
Connecting Europe Express
Hop on the Connecting Europe Express and enjoy a full European train experience. Whether at home or at the station, have a seat and take part in the activities taking place during the length of the journey. Learn all about the benefits of rail as a sustainable, smart and safe means of transport, plus its role in connecting Europe.
The schedule foresees stops in most European capitals, with events and other activities planned at local level, taking into account local COVID-19 measures. Join the journey and share your views on how we can encourage more people to take the train and have goods delivered sustainably. Ultimately, this will help us cut transport emissions.
Coordinated by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Managers (CER), the project will be run not only in cooperation with European rail operators, but also infrastructure managers and numerous other partners at EU and local level. Stay tuned for more information. The Connecting Europe Express will be one of the European Year of Rail 2021’s most visible initiatives.
The European Commission is teaming up with partners at EU and national level to explore ways to encourage the use of rail by both citizens and businesses, and to contribute to the EU Green Deal goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050. All events and other activities planned at local level are going to take into account local COVID-19 measures.
The Connecting Europe Express is unique in many ways. For example, railway companies from different EU Member States are providing rolling stock to configure this train. Coordinated by the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Managers (CER), the project will be run not only in cooperation with European rail operators, but also infrastructure managers.
CER Chair and CEO of Austrian Federal Railways Andreas Matthä emphasised the significance of the joint project: “The Connecting Europe Express shows a strong commitment of the European Union and the European Member States reflecting the importance of the railway sector. Only by consistently shifting freight traffic to rail and expanding international long-distance passenger rail services will Europe be able to achieve its climate targets and make the European Green Deal an overall success.”
Modern railways are more relevant than ever for our sustainable and digital mobility transformation, and for regaining passengers’ trust in collective transport; this has been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rail is not only sustainable: it is also safe and innovative; it connects people, cities and regions all across the European Union. It also has a strong European dimension: the EU has one of the most dense railway networks worldwide, and our rail industry and companies are world champions and a valuable source of jobs and growth in Europe.
European funding reflects rail’s key role for the future of transport. In the period 2014-2020, CEF Transport contributed to the decarbonisation of the European economy by investing heavily in environmentally friendly transport modes, including 266 railway actions across the EU. The CEF funding allocated to railway actions accounts for €16.3 billion, 72% of the total CEF Transport funding.
2021 is the European Year of Rail
It is diverse. The perks of rail are not only for holidaymakers and commuters. Businesses and freight carriers can shift to rail and benefit from low-cost, increasingly competitive offers to transport their goods all over Europe – all while reducing their carbon footprint.
It is green and sustainable. Rail is largely electrified and emits far less CO2 than equivalent travel by road or air. It accounts for only 0.4 % of EU greenhouse gas emissions, while all EU transport accounts for 25% of the EU’s total emissions. Plus, it is the only transport means that between 1990-2017 has consistently reduced its emissions and energy consumption, while increasingly using renewable energy sources.
It is affordable, comfortable and safe. Whether you are on holidays or travelling for business, you can rely on rail to get you safely to your destination. It is the safest land transport mode with the lowest incidence of fatal accidents. Make the train your mobile office or just enjoy the view – and leave stressful journeys behind.