A containertrain on the 'Nord-Süd-Strecke' in Germany

EU: TEN-T provides too little alternative rail capacity

The European TEN-T investment programme to expand the trans-European transport corridors does not yet provide enough extra rail capacity to shift more freight transport from road to rail.

The European Commission states this in a recent interim report on the project’s progress in the rail sector. The report also examines the project’s progress in 2019 and 2018.

The progress note underlines that the TEN-Tinvestement programme has not yet achieved much in adjusting and modernising the EU rail infrastructure to make it eligible for cross-border 740-metres long trains. According to the committee, only one rail corridor in the entire EU is suitable for these long freight trains.

Few track sections where freight trains can pass

The European Commission would like to point out that hardly any track sections have been built in the EU where these long freight trains can overtake each other. This handicap means that the TEN-T network can only be used to a limited extent for the modal shift in Europe and make rail transport more competitive than road transport.

The European Commission is also critical of the fact that too few of the TENT-T corridors are suitable for the transport of P400 semi-trailers. The EU speaks of 60 per cent of the network, which means that large parts of the trans-European rail infrastructure cannot be used as an alternative to road transport. All this happens while Brussels see the transport of trailers by rail as an important growth market for rail freight transport.

Tighten up subsidy requirements

The European Commission believes that these shortcomings must be remedied quickly and therefore wants to tighten the criteria for TEN-T subsidies and targets on these points soon. Brussels still assume that the primary network will be completed by 2030 at the latest. The entire network should be ready in 2050.

This article was previously published by sister magazine Nieuwsblad Transport.

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Author: John Versleijen

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