EU version

EU's Ambitious TEN-T Plan Finalized: A New Era for European Railways Unfolds

EU's Ambitious TEN-T Plan Finalized: A New Era for European Railways Unfolds
foto: Ben / Flickr/High-speed rail
10 / 01 / 2024

The Trilogue negotiations on the revision of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Regulation have successfully concluded, marking a historical moment in the development of European rail corridors, including cross-border, regional, and high-speed infrastructures.

The TEN-T is pivotal for orchestrating significant rail projects across Europe, encompassing both physical and digital aspects. Its enhancement is crucial to increase the shift of passengers and freight towards more sustainable modes like rail, thereby aligning with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

According to the Community of European Railway & Infrastructure Companies (CER), the negotiation outcomes have yielded several positive developments. Among these are confirmed:

  • The acceleration of ERTMS deployment in a continuous manner has been confirmed in the text with different deadlines for the core, extended core, and comprehensive networks, while the decommissioning of the class B systems will take place at a later stage with possible exemptions but guaranteeing compatibility for a truly interoperable network;
  • A strong and attractive rail network connecting passenger and freight terminals, major ports, and airports will serve as the backbone of a sustainable transport ecosystem.
  • The new TEN-T Regulation will be an opportunity to present a Masterplan for the development of an interoperable high-speed rail network linking European capitals and major cities and supporting the development of international passenger services.

However, this ambitious revision of the TEN-T brings forth challenging requirements and provisions, which call for equally ambitious financing strategies. To fully realize the TEN-T network, substantial investment is needed: approximately EUR 500 billion by 2030 for the core network and EUR 1,500 billion by 2050 for the comprehensive network. CER strongly advocates for an increase in the budget of the new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF III) – the EU’s primary funding mechanism – to at least EUR 100 billion in the next EU budget cycle (MFF 2028-2035). This increase, along with supplementary funds, is essential to meet the set TEN-T targets and deadlines, ensuring the seamless evolution of Europe's rail infrastructure towards a more connected and sustainable future.

Railways today lack sufficient capacity on many corridors to further grow," said Alberto Mazzola, CER Executive Director. "We expect the TEN-T provisions to bring to completion the current cross-border projects and rail corridors, increase capacity through digital solutions such as ERTMS and more performing standards, reach full interoperability between national networks, connect rail and all the ports/airports of the core network, realize new infrastructure and develop a high-speed rail network connecting all EU capitals and major cities. We praise the European institutions for reaching an agreement and invite them to now develop and deploy in a timely manner what has been agreed. We are absolutely convinced of rail’s economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Source: CER