Quieter brakes, track upgrades and more port connections in Europe
The EU is investing over 117 million euros in 39 key transport projects that will help build missing connections across the continent, while focusing on sustainable transport modes. The projects will reduce the noise generated by freight trains, develop and improve cross-border railway links and upgrade crucial infrastructure in ports. They will be supported through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the EU’s financial mechanism supporting transport infrastructure.
Eight projects contribute to reducing rail freight noise in the EU by upgrading rail wagon braking systems. The quieter and more efficient brakes result in better energetic performance of trains, but also better living conditions to those living close by railway tracks. Almost 75,000 freight railway wagons will be upgraded as part of these eight projects.
Infrastructure and ports
Furthermore, the call also supports rail infrastructure projects aiming at upgrading existing railway lines, like the electrification of the line from Vienna to the Hungarian border (2.9 million euros for the studies) or the cross-border section of the line between Bremen (Germany) and Groeningen (the Netherlands) worth 12.7 euros million in EU support.
Lastly, a large group of projects involve upgrading infrastructure within EU ports to foster multimodality and lowering emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. In the port of Oulu (Finland) the EU will support the extension and construction of railway tracks and of a quay to accommodate longer trains (2.1 million euros). In the port of Civitavecchia (Italy) the last mile of railway track will be upgraded and directly connected to the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) thanks to support worth 3.8 million euros.
The projects were selected for funding via a competitive call for proposals launched on 8 January in all EU Member States. The EU’s financial contribution comes in the form of grants, with different co-financing rates depending on the project type.
Under the CEF programme, 23.2 billion euros is available for grants from the EU’s 2014-2020 budget to co-fund TEN-T projects in the EU Member States. Since 2014, the first CEF programming year, six waves of calls for project proposals have been launched (every year since 2014). In total, so far CEF supports 756 projects for a total amount of 22.3 billion euros in the transport sector.
Following EU Member States approval of the proposal, the Commission will adopt a formal decision in the coming days. The Innovation and Networks Executive Agency will then sign the grant agreements with the project beneficiaries at the latest by January 2020.