CZ/SK verze

Live from IRFC 2022: Watch the opening ceremony of the largest conference of the Rail Transport Section of the Czech EU Presidency

Live from IRFC 2022: Watch the opening ceremony of the largest conference of the Rail Transport Section of the Czech EU Presidency
photo: RAILTARGET/Live from IRFC 2022: Watch the opening ceremony of the largest conference of the Rail Transport Section of the Czech EU Presidency
05 / 10 / 2022

Welcome to our live coverage of IRFC 2022! The first day of the conference starts with the opening ceremony, featuring speakers such as Martin Kupka, Minister of Transport of the Czech Republic, Miroslav Fukan, CEO of OLTIS Group and Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport online!

9:30 Miroslav Fukan, CEO of OLTIS Group, welcomes us to the conference. He is pleased to be able to hold the event under the auspices of the Czech EU Presidency and thanks all the organisers, partners and sponsors. He briefly introduces OLTIS Group and welcomes the Czech Minister of Transport, Martin Kupka. Although the railway is going through a difficult period, it will be the backbone of transport and the economy in the future. The challenges of the COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine have forced us to reshape the railway. To make it a robust infrastructure with more capacity. We are currently focusing on the construction of the VRT and also the Via Vindobona link. The aim is to reduce the distances between European capitals. Another such project is the TEN-T network, which should further strengthen the rail infrastructure. We also need to work on connecting EU countries with Ukraine and also with other candidate countries. We are also looking at alternative fuels, one of which is hydrogen. Then we are also analysing and working on technical parameters to ensure maximum possible interoperability and thus ensure the smoothest possible transport between the Member States. The situation in Ukraine has significantly affected the energy market, and the price of energy has a strong impact on all segments of transport. Alternative propulsion could help us to mitigate the effects of this crisis.

9:40 Followed by a video message from Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport. She is very happy about the VRT project, which will greatly help European rail transport. This could provide better assistance to Ukraine, as it will be possible to transport the necessary commodities more quickly. This is also linked to the call for interoperability. We need to work on the implementation of ERTMS and DAC - they will help us with the digitisation of the railway.

9:45 The French Ambassador Alexis Dutertre will also say a few words. During the French Presidency, we have tried to push forward the TEN-T project and also the digitisation of the railway. Another big point could be the use of night trains between European capitals, thus reducing the proportion of interstate flights between the Member States. We also need to work on closer cooperation with the candidate countries so that they can join the European rail network. The Czech VRT project, for example, will also help with this, which will help increase connectivity within Europe, it is such a missing link. That is also why we presented the TGV in the Czech Republic because the TGV has an undeniable positive effect on the economy.

9:55 Fredrik Jorgensen, the Swedish ambassador to the Czech Republic, will now speak. We aim to develop rail through the Green Deal to increase its share of the total European transport volume. An important step in this respect was the establishment of ER JU, which is a follow-up to Shift2Rail. This programme has a lot of funding available and can take European rail further. We need to standardise more in Europe and work on interoperability so that we have better cross-border connections. In Sweden, this is a very important issue. And the Czech Republic is now taking steps to have VRT and has the French know-how to do so. We in Scandinavia are also cooperating with the Czech Republic, and we have recently received EffiShunter 1000 locomotives from the Czech company CZ LOKO. So Czech locomotives are now running in Sweden.

10:00 And finally the Japanese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Hideo Suzuki. In our opinion, railways belong to strategic infrastructure and should not be neglected. Thanks to it, Czech tanks were able to reach Ukraine to fight against Russian barbarism. That is why the railway is important for national security, and military mobility is important. I was fascinated by the flexibility of the European railway system - especially in cross-border traffic. However, there are still a lot of challenges ahead for rail in terms of its future development, especially in the context of the Green Deal. We have also talked about hydrogen, and we have the same view in Japan. Hydrogen will significantly change the railway and contribute to its sustainability, as well as to the sustainability of our society. The next step towards sustainability, greenness and cost-effectiveness of rail is VRT, which can help the regions. The Czech Republic and other countries would like to participate in the Expo in Osaka, where we would like to show the vision of a sustainable human society through rail. In fact, Osaka has the largest railway terminal in Japan and you will have the opportunity to experience the Japanese railway system.