The ministers agreed on necessity to continue in the electrification of European railway network. They also discussed what individual carriers and infrastructure managers can do to reduce energy intensity and how to keep the current scale of transport. "We have prepared a set of specific, practical measures to reduce energy consumption on railways that are used by individual member states. These include the purchase of more efficient vehicles capable of energy recovery, the unification of power supply systems, greater use of local renewable energy sources, smoother travelling without the need for frequent stops and replacement of train station lightning for energy saving type," minister Kupka reveals more details.
Regarding energy recovery, he mentioned at the press conference that in the case of rail freight we can save about 10 percent of energy, and in passenger rail even up to 30 percent.
Ministers also realize that railway transport plays a key role in the European Union, as confirmed by the Russian aggression against Ukraine, where railways were used to transport goods and people fleeing the war.
In this connection, the draft revision of the TEN-T network then envisages the elimination of those links located on the territory of Russia and Belarus and, on the contrary, the inclusion of transport corridors in Ukraine and Moldova, including the possibility of switching to standard gauge. According to minister Kupka, we can take inspiration from the Spanish example where variable bogies can be used to provide a transition between different gauges of the railway.
The afternoon session focused on ways how to improve the quality and reliability of rail transport, e.g. via digitalization. The ministers discussed how to remove technical obstacles, improve the coordination of closures, the reliability of transport, and better connections. They also discussed so-called ticketing: how to make it easier to buy international tickets. They talked about the possibilities of how to improve timetabling and promote long-distance and cross-border transport.
"We also need to complete many cross-border sections such as Amsterdam-Berlin, Lyon-Turin, Madrid-Paris, Berlin-Prague-Brno-Vienna," continues the Czech transport minister. Because rail is and has to stay an environmentally friendly and sustainable mode of transport, he added.