Twenty-four leaders of European railway companies, including SNCF president Jean-Pierre Varando, want to work together to “improve the attractiveness of railways everywhere on the continent”, and are calling for “huge European investment” to create a “new European rail charter”.
“The train is the most environmentally responsible motorized mode of transport,” the leaders called in a column published in France in the Sunday Journal, lamenting that “the share of railways in passenger and freight transport is still very low.”
A key role to play in the fight against climate change
“Because we share the conviction that railways have a major role to play in the fight against climate change, we are concretely committed to developing the train in Europe,” they wrote ahead of the “European Rail Summit” that should bring them together on Monday at SNCF headquarters.
They promise improved customer experience, greener and recyclable trains, efforts to innovate and more diversified employment, and make way for women and youth.
They claim that “this agreement is ambitious: we will only succeed together,” despite the differences and competition between their companies. With a “common goal: to increase the share of railways in transport and thus contribute to achieving climate neutrality by 2050”.
We need member states and the European Union. We call on them to support this agreement by committing to setting clear stereotyped change goals at the national level,” the leaders insist.
“Better finance the rail system and public transport”
New resources are needed to improve the financing of the rail and public transport system. To invest heavily in the modernization of rail networks, increasing their capacity and interoperability, to modernize rail cars, we need resources. »
They also called on Brussels and member states to “strengthen the rules of fair competition between modes of transport”, in particular taking into account their environmental footprint.
The podium was signed on the French side by SNCF CEO Jean-Pierre Farandou, General Manager of Getlink (Eurotunnel) Yann Leriche and President of Lisea (franchisee of the Tours-Bordeaux line) Hervé Le Caignec, as well as general managers of Thalys and Eurostar subsidiaries for SNCF.
He also signed, among others, the heads of the national railway companies of Germany Deutsche Bahn, Austrian ÖBB, Belgian SNCB, Danish DSB, Finnish VR, Hungarian MÁV, Italian FS, Luxembourgish CFL, Dutch NS, Portuguese CP, Slovenian SŽ and Swiss SBB.