CZ/SK verze

CER in Brussels Discusses HSR: "A Clear Priority," Confirms Head of European Commissioner's Cabinet

CER in Brussels Discusses HSR: &quote;A Clear Priority,&quote; Confirms Head of European Commissioner's Cabinet
photo: RAILTARGET/CER in Brussels Discusses HSR: "A Clear Priority," Confirms Head of European Commissioner's Cabinet
10 / 11 / 2023

The topic of high-speed rail (HSR) resonated in the European Parliament, where CER, in cooperation with Spain's RENFE, opened a discussion. The Czech Republic has much to learn in this area.

The conference at the European Parliament, attended by RAILTARGET editors, focused on investment in railway infrastructure and the development of high-speed railway lines. While Western European countries have an extensive network of high-speed lines, the Czech Republic is just beginning to build its own.

Spain, France, and Germany boast the densest networks of high-speed lines. As the operator of Europe's oldest high-speed lines, RENFE's experience was highlighted at the CER conference.

Izaskun Bilbao Barandica emphasized that countries choosing not to build high-speed lines risk isolation from the rest of Europe. The EU is investing significantly in inter-state connections and the ERTMS system. High-speed rail offers an ecological alternative to air travel and aligns with the EU's environmental priorities. "The European high-speed rail map is becoming a reality. Delays in individual states are no longer acceptable. Nations must be cohesive and promote the Green Deal's goals within their policies. However, HSR and ERTMS aren't the only focus; modern ecological transport reducing emissions is vital," Bilbao Barandica stated. She also stressed the importance of focusing on both passenger and freight transport. "I am very pleased with the implementation of the 4th railway package, especially considering the railway's key role in the context of the war in Ukraine," she concluded.

RENFE President Raül Blanco Díaz shared insights from over 25 years of experience with high-speed lines. Since the 1990s, Spain has focused continuous investment efforts on high-speed infrastructure, currently boasting nearly 4,000 kilometers of high-speed track. In 2022, 93.2% of total railway infrastructure investment was allocated to new construction.

Filip Alexandru Negreanu-Arboreanu, Director of the Cabinet of European Commissioner Adina Valean, confirmed that HSR and ERTMS are crucial for the EU, backed by significant investment. The TEN-T initiative exemplifies the ideal approach, aiming to connect not just capital cities but also agglomerations and seeking cross-border connections. "Investment in rail is steadily increasing, reaching record levels. TEN-T is essential as it considers the needs of the entire European region, not just individual countries," he affirmed.

Casimiro Iglesias Pérez, Director General for Railways at the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility, and Urban Agendas, noted, "HSR will be the backbone of the European transport system, but the future lies in multimodality." He acknowledged the sector's substantial support.

Michael Peterson, CEO of DB Fernverkehr, pointed out, "If you offer people a fast, comfortable connection, they will change their travel habits."

The Czech Republic was represented by the Railway Administration, a CER member. The CEO of SŽ Svoboda is part of the CER Management Committee, which advises the General Assembly. This committee consists of the CER chairman, four vice-chairmen, and other members elected by the general meeting. Associate members are CEOs of CER member companies elected to the UIC Europe Steering Committee.