European Year of Rail

Connecting Europe Express

Rail connects people, regions and enterprises across Europe. During the European Year of Rail 2021 the Connecting Europe Express stopped at over 100 stations in 26 member states, demonstrating this unifying force of rail in Europe.

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Driving Change: The "Connecting Europe Express", an initiative by the European Union, traveled across Europe to promote the use of sustainable means of transport during the European Year of Rail 2021.

The train started in Lisbon in early September and ended its journey in Paris on October 7th. At each of the stops, politicians, industry and civil society echanged views on ways to make rail transportation the first travel choice for European passengers and businesses. In total, the CEE covered a distance of 20,000 kilometers.

In Germany, the CEE stopped inter alia in the cities of Munich, Leipzig and Bremen. At the end of September, the Connecting Europe Express was welcomed in Berlin. At the Berlin Museum of Technology, Transport politicians from Europe and Germany, high level representatives of the railway industry industry and operators discussed the expansion of cross-border rail transport.

The EU-Commission represented by Head of Cabinet Dr. Walter Götz and the Federal Commissioner for Rail Transport Parliamentary State Secretary Enak Ferlemann opened the conference. Topics of teh following discussion included he role of rail in sustainable mobility, current barriers to long-distance transport and new initiatives in cross-border rail transport.

During the high-level panel discussion, VDB Managing Director Dr. Ben Möbius said: "Innovation will make the difference to make rail even more attractive. High-Speed, ATO, AI - The technologies exist, but time to market is extremely long. Too long if we take climate protection seriously. We need Green Public Procurement to get best rather than cheapest solutions."

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Europe is home to around 4,500 companies in the railway industry and more than 400,000 direct employees. Sustainability, safety, speed - rail is the means of transport of the 21st century. After all, Europe's goal to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 will only succeed if mobility makes a noticeable contribution to climate protection.

Rail is already the most climate-friendly means of transport. Digitalization is catapulting rail mobility into a new era: at high speed, rail connects European metropolises across borders. The digital control system ETCS allows for the transportation of up to 35 percent more passengers and goods on existing routes – across European Borders. Automated metros run more often, more punctually and improve energy efficiency by 30 percent through precisely calculated travel curves. Further electrification and alternative drives such as hydrogen, battery and hybrid trains pave the way for zero emissions mobility.

Sustainable decarbonization of the transport sector will only be achieved with Rail 4.0: More mobility that emits fewer emissions.

For more Information on the Connecting Europe Expresse please click here.

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