European Rail Research Advisory Council ERRAC cetra cetra

Brussels 27 November 2012 - ERRAC, the European Rail Research Advisory Council, held its plenary meeting in Brussels on Friday 23 November. Under the new Chairmanship of Josef Doppelbauer (Chief Technical Officer, Bombardier) as Chairman together with Andy Doherty and Manual Pereira as Vice-Chairmen, many important issues currently high on the EU agenda were discussed. The plenary meeting was also the occasion for ERRAC to officially handover the ´RailRoute 2050´ Railway Research and Innovation vision document to the European Commision.

Rail Transport is the most Environmentally Friendly Means of Transport

Transport is responsible for about a quarter of the EU´s greenhouse gas emissions. 12.7% of overall emissions are generated by civil aviation, 13.5% by maritime transport, 0.6% by rail, 1.7% by inland navigation and 70.8% by road transport (2008 figures).

For more information about ´RailRoute 2050´and to receive a copy of the document, go to


Foreword from Prof Andrew McNaughton, ERRAC Chairman

The rail system already provides solutions for the transport of goods and people all over the world, in term of safety, environment, total journey time, low emissions and low energy. It has the potential to offer attractive urban, regional and long distance mobility throughout Europe and beyond.

In meeting its true potential and contribute fully to the economic and social prosperity of Europe and its citizens, the volume of traffic is expected to radically increase in the future. However critical corridors and sections of the existing European network is alreday working to its maximum capacity. At the same time, the expectations for green, efficient, smart and integrated whole journey solutions from transport users (passengers and freight forwarders) are increasing.

Therefore there is an urgent need for action to increase the capacity of railway network that can help enable effective modal shift towards rail which has such potential to support a low carbon economy. Railway transportation will also need to develop its attractiveness and competitiveness to meet that potential.

In this context, we are very pleased that the recent EC 2011 Transport White paper ´Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area - Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system´ echoes this ambition, in particular with the objective of encouraging a modal shift towards rail freight and passenger transport.

It´s now time to move up several gears in order to make this common ambition happen.

An initial update of the ERRAC vision for the future of rail, projecting it to 2050, is provided here, addressing the European effort required for research and innovation to achieve this common ambition. This will require streamlined investment from frontier, applied/focused research, development and demonstration to real market uptake, supported by both investment as well as by aligned complementary legislation. Further work in the coming months will refine this work, through challenge and cooperative development.

The European vision for railway research and innovation outlined here illustrates the research pillars that need to be supplemented by the corresponding investment pillar. Complementing these is the legislation pillar necessary to provide fair market condiitons. The combination has the potency to transform rail into the low carbon natural transport mode of choice in the middle of the 21st century.