The revision of the TEN-T Regulation is here, this is on Europe’s agenda

TEN-T map

The European Commission has published its proposal for a revised Regulation on Union guidelines for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The revised TEN-T Regulation is in line with the European Green Deal’s ambitious climate targets of a 55 per cent reduction in transport emissions by 2030 and 90 per cent by 2050.

The revision was published today, 14 December and welcomed by industry associations CER – the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies, EIM – the Association representing the independent rail infrastructure managers in Europe, and UNIFE – representing the European Rail Supply Industry. In summary, the following points have been proposed to address the missing links and modernise the entire network.

New intermediary deadline

A new intermediary deadline of 2040 was introduced to advance the completion of major parts of the network ahead of the 2050 deadline that applies to the wider, comprehensive network. This core network will also be extended. This was welcomed by the industry, as it includes strategic sections of the comprehensive network.

However, the advancement of the completion deadlines for the TEN-T should always go hand in hand, and is dependent upon, adequate and additional funding commitments, the above mentioned parties jointly stated.

“Furthermore, we welcome the fact that some of the new requirements are subject to studies that analyse the feasibility and economic relevance. Such an approach will lead to a targeted and efficient use of (financial) resources and could be explored more in the future.”

European Transport Corridors

A new term was introduced: European Transport Corridors (ECTs). These corridors reflect the integration of Core Network Corridors (CNCs) and Rail Freight Corridors (RFCs). In total, nine European Transport Corridors have been identified that integrate rail, road, and waterways.

“This will improve the cooperation between the governing bodies of RFCs and CNCs and will allow the identification of the investment priorities of the CNC work plans to be supported with CEF funds for rail infrastructure projects along the ETCs”, the EIM, CER and UNIFE said.

More terminals

The revision furthermore calls for more transhipment terminals, improved handling capacity at freight terminals, reduced waiting times at rail border crossings, longer trains to shift more freight onto cleaner transport modes, and the option for lorries to be transported by train network-wide.

High-speed network

Moreover, a clear emphasis has been placed on the development of a high-speed rail network between the main nodes of Europe. The major TEN-T passenger rail lines should allow trains to travel at 160 km/h or faster by 2040.

But in general, the connection of urban nodes is of importance, the industry parties state. “The further integration of urban nodes into the TEN-T network is crucial as rail is still missing a significant number of last mile infrastructure for freight and multimodal connections for passengers. All this will not be achieved without sufficient and targeted funding and investments for the rail infrastructure development and ensuring a strong regulatory stability in the Technical Specifications for Interoperability.”

Unleashing full potential

CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “Today’s proposal of the TEN-T Regulation opens the door to unleashing rail’s full potential as the most sustainable transport mode, but that does not come without costs and challenges.

“It is crucial to invest in railways, to build and upgrade resilient infrastructure that complies with the technical requirements and support rail in becoming the backbone of sustainable mobility. It is important to make the best use of revenues from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) to finance rail TEN-T investments”.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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