Europe could generate €200bn by tripling high-speed rail

Karel Novak, Published on 25/01/2023
Europe could generate €200bn by tripling high-speed rail
@alstom.com

The study confirms that investing in a comprehensive European high-speed rail (HRS) network will bring added value to European society and massively reduce the environmental impact of European passenger transport.


The report proposes a master plan for an HSR network linking all EU capitals and major cities and calls on the European Commission and Member States to implement it in a coordinated way, with adequate funding, now and in the coming decades. Such a comprehensive network, which would represent at least a tripling of the existing HSR network, will require an estimated investment cost of €550 billion, which will generate a positive net benefit to society in the order of €750 billion by 2070.

Alberto Mazzola, Executive Director at CER, said: “The positive cost-benefit ratio of the study shows why Europe needs a High-speed Masterplan as a response to the ongoing crisis on energy and sustainable mobility. The creation of an interoperable European high-speed network, linking European capitals and major cities, connecting urban nodes and airports, will reduce rail travel time between EU capitals and major cities to under 4 and 6 hours, and with affordable and comfortable trains rail will certainly become the preferred mode of transport. This is why it is essential to invest in high-speed rail”.

The study shows that to achieve this goal, the current network needs to be extended and modernised, especially across borders. But infrastructure alone is not enough. High-speed trains need to be attractive: high capacity (1000 seats per train), frequent departures and attractive fares.

Philippe Citroën, Director General at UNIFE, added: “By demonstrating the major economic and environmental benefits of a European high-speed rail network, the study will underpin the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy and of its ambitious objective to double traffic on high-speed rail by 2030 and to triple it by 2050, in full coherence with the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). The European Rail Supply Industry, by providing cutting-edge technologies for rolling stock and ERTMS, and continuously investing in R&I, looks forward to making this vision a reality.”

To make high-speed rail attractive, a level playing field is needed both intramodally (between rail operators) and intermodally (e.g. fair taxation vis-à-vis less sustainable modes), as well as full integration with feeder public transport services, the study concludes.

The study was commissioned by the European Railway Joint Undertaking (EU-RAIL) in cooperation with the Alliance of Passenger Rail New Entrants in Europe (ALLRAIL), the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), and the European Rail Supply Industry (UNIFE).

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