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Europe’s Rail in 2023

2023 was a busy and successful year for the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking (EU-Rail), effectively accomplising its operational and administratitve goals . From its R&I activities to building relationships with many stakeholders, this year we moved one step forward to making rail the everyday mobility. Thank you to our Founding Members, partners, and the EU-Rail staff for the collaboration and support during 2023. Have a read through some of the highlights of this past year and click on the different images to learn more.

Projects worth €21,2 million, are expected to be funded under the Europe’s Rail Call for Proposals 2023 covering Flagship Area 1, dedicated to network management planning and control, mobility management in a multimodal environment, and digital enablers, as well as Destination 8, answering to exploratory research and other activities. With this Call for Proposals, the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking intends to build synergies with the SESAR 3 Joint Undertaking, promoting an integrated air and rail network backbone for a sustainable and energy efficient multimodal transport system in Europe. The topic further supports the work done in Europe’s Rail Flagship Area 1. In addition, with this Call, Europe’s Rail will strengthen its exploratory research activities, essential pathfinders for future R&I, covering topics such as noise and vibration, future metro systems, biodiversity, disruptive asset management solutions, extending the network of PhDs, and DAC fleet retrofitting and capacity plan.

In December the General Assembly of the Europe’s Rail Governing Board was completed. The Assembly was an opportunity to reflect on the overall direction of the EU-Rail activities while conducting an open and transparent discussion on the progress of the Master Plan implementation. Day 1 focused on strategic reports, including an update on the state of play, presentations from the advisory bodies, as well as the European DAC Delivery Programme, and sessions on synergies and cooperation. Day 2 was dedicated to operational reports, including key success stories from Shift2Rail, and an update on the ongoing activities in the Innovation and System Pillars.


“2022 was an ambitious and successful year achieving the ramp up phase of the Europe’s Rail Joint Undertaking and its core part of the integrated Programme which are now fully operational,” says our Executive Director a.i., Giorgio Travaini.

Take a deep dive into the highlights of the journey of Europe’s Rail in 2022 by flipping through the digital version of the Executive View of our Annual Activity Report 2022.

Throughout the European Year of Skills 2023, we published a video series on our YouTube channel. Watch as we share personal experiences of our Founding Members, partners, and staff through video messages, encouraging young people to build their careers in rail. Learn directly from people in the industry what are the skills you can develop while working in rail, what skills are necessary to have and what skills are used daily. This way we are putting skills centre-stage and promoting a mindset of reskilling and upskilling. We are bringing organisations and people together to share their experiences and insights.

The webpages, with details on the objectives and scope of the work of our Flagships Projects FP1 MOTIONALFP2 R2DATOFP3 IAM4RAILFP4 Rail4EARTHFP5 TRANS4M-R, and FP6 FutuRe are up and running on our website. Additionally, eight new projects worth €13.1 million will develop new solutions under our 2022-2 Call for Proposals and support our six large Flagship Projects working towards the building of a Single European Railway Area. The websites of Pods4Rail, RAIL4CITIES, InBridge4EU, ESEP4Freight, Academics4Rail, LEADER 2030, DACcord, and MaDe4Rail are online.

The Europe’s Rail System Pillar webpage is updated with new documents, including the System Engineering Management Plan, the FRMCS report, the Standardisation and TSI input plan, and the System Pillar Common Business Objectives. The minutes of all the previous System Pillar meetings are also uploaded to give you an overview of the important discussions taking place that bring the rail sector representatives under a single coordination body. The System Pillar is the architect of the future EU’s railway system.

The first meeting of the EU-Rail Scientific Steering Group took place in November. The newly appointed group’s mission is to provide advice and recommendations to the Governing Board and the Executive Director on the implementation of the EU-Rail Research and Innovation Programme, in particular its progress, implementation, delivery approach, and the relation between the Industrial Research and Innovation Activities and Exploratory, and Other Activities. The Scientific Steering Group of Europe’s Rail consists of members, reflecting a balanced representation of world-renowned scientists and engineers from academia, industry, SMEs, non-governmental organisations and regulatory bodies. Angela Di Febbraro has been appointed as the Chair of the new group, while Juan de Dios Sanz Bobi has been appointed as the Vice-Chair.

Against the backdrop of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Europe’s Rail together with the European Commission, the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), and the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) organised the second edition of the ‘Space for Innovation in Rail – Towards Satellite Based ERTMS’. This two-day event gathered Europe’s major transport stakeholders, including key decision makers and railway sector representatives across the entire value chain, debating the introduction of the European Union’s Space Programme assets in the railway domain. We were honoured to be joined by Carmen Librero, Spanish Special Commissioner for Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agenda, and many more esteemed speakers.

Our Executive Director a.i., Giorgio Travaini attended the Final Ceremony of the 5th Edition of the European Startup Prize on 26 October 2023, in Brussels, Belgium. During the event, Mr Travaini participated in a High-level Round Table discussion titled ‘The Road towards a European ‘Startup Continent’ together with Kris Peeters, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Maria Tsavachidis, CEO at EIT Urban Mobility, Lionel Rouillon, Director of Development at VNF, and Derya Guran, Head of Innovation at Die Autobahn GmbH des Bundes. In the prize category of Digital and Green Rail Mobility, directly supported by EU-Rail, he also awarded RAILwAI, as the winning startup. RAILwAI leverages all available data for efficient rail maintenance. Thus, contributing to higher infrastructure availability at lower maintenance costs.

In the context of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union, the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between RailNetEurope (RNE) and Europe’s Rail took place during the Rail Transport Day in Stockholm, Sweden on 30 May 2023. Through this agreement, both organisations are committed to foster an integrated, high-capacity European railway network by eliminating barriers to interoperability and building upon a harmonised functional system architecture shared by the sector. The collaboration facilitated by this MoU will cover traffic management and capacity allocation, exchange and communication of railway related data, infrastructure, and services, aiming to achieve higher railway sector efficiency, faster uptake and deployment of projects and innovations, and leverage the huge potential of digitalisation and automation to reduce rail’s costs, increase its capacity and enhance its flexibility and reliability.

Europe’s Rail participated in the UITP Global Public Transport Summit on 4-7 June in Barcelona, Spain. At our stand, visitors had the opportunity to meet the Europe’s Rail team and experience our latest innovations, including the holoLens for enhancing passenger experiences in train stations, the auralisation and visualisation tool, the Travel Companion app, and the lightweight seats. Our Executive Director a.i., Giorgio Travaini, moderated and presented the rail challenges and how EU-Rail is addressing them through innovation at the ‘Automation in Trams and Trains: Optimising Capacity and Operations’ session. The event also offered an opportunity to discuss and to explore the synergies between the rail sector and the broader transport industry.

A study on high-speed rail services in the European Union was launched during a dedicated press event attended by MEP Dorien Rookmaker on 23 January. The report, contracted by EU-Rail in collaboration 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) analyses the impact of the European High-Speed Rail (HSR) Network connecting the Capitals of Europe and the main European cities and regions. The study confirms that investing in a comprehensive European HSR network delivers added value to European society and massively reduces the environmental footprint of European passenger transport, creating a sustainable and equitable mobility.

The Europe’s Rail team was present with a stand at the 11th UIC High-Speed World Congress on 7-10 March, in Marrakech, Morocco.  Our Head of System Pillar, Ian Conlon, together with representatives from across the globe, took part in the closing ceremony titled ‘High Speed on the Move’. Our Chief Stakeholder Relations and Dissemination, Catherine Cieczko, presented the results of our report on ‘Smart and affordable rail services in the EU: a socio-economic and environmental study for High-Speed in 2030 and 2050’.