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EU to give 1 billion euros for railways

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Staff writer |
Europe railwaysThe European Commission adopted "Shift2Rail", a new public-private partnership to invest just under 1 billion euros in research and innovation to get more passengers and freight onto Europe's railways.

Rail is amongst the most efficient and climate-friendly forms of transport, but currently it only carries about only 10% of European cargo and 6% of passengers each year.

The European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said, "If we want to get more passengers and freight on Europe's railways, then rail needs provide better services and offer an attractive choice to more customers. For that to happen, rail needs to innovate. This public private partnership is a major breakthrough, it will drive innovation to reduce the costs of rail services, increase capacity and provide more reliable, frequent rail services for customers."

Commissioner for Research Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "This investment will allow for a major industrial effort, combining public and private funding from throughout the whole rail sector, to develop strategic technologies and solutions that will help to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and retain Europe's leadership in the global rail market. This is a perfect demonstration of the leverage effect of the EU budget for growth and jobs."

"Shift2Rail" is an ambitious public-private partnership which will manage a 7-year work programme of targeted research and innovation to support the development of better rail services in Europe. It will develop and accelerate the bringing to market of technological breakthroughs.

With "Shift2Rail", the Commission is more than tripling its financing for rail research and innovation to €450 million (2014-2020) compared to €155 for the previous period. This will be matched by €470 from the rail industry. The net gains of this long term collaborative approach will give a very substantial boost to innovation in the rail industry, compared to previous co-funding of individual projects.

Shift2Rail aims to deliver: a reduction, by up to 50%, in the life-cycle cost of railway transport (i.e. costs of building, operating, maintaining and renewing infrastructure and rolling stock); an overall increase in capacity of up to 100%; and an overall increase in reliability of up to 50% in the different rail market segments.

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