The European Passengers’ Federation, as a subcontractor to KCW, was involved in a study commissioned by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission (DG REGIO) on the Comprehensive analysis of the existing cross-border transport connections and missing links on the internal EU borders. The study consisted of the following:

  • the preparation of an inventory of existing and missing cross-border rail connections (infrastructure and services);
  • an assessment of the demand potential of all missing and not fully exploited routes, together with an appraisal of the socio-economic case for capital investment and improved services; and
  • a ranking of all routes for which sufficient demand potential has been identified but action is required.

“Missing links”, non-operational small-scale cross-border railway connections, within the European Union have gained political momentum in the past years. More cross-border railway passenger transport across additional cross-border connections could enhance mobility and economic development in the border regions.

As a first step, the present study provides an inventory of all cross-border rail connections along the EU and EFTA internal land borders, containing maps and data inter alia on the operational status, technical aspects and stakeholders of each connection. In a second step, the viability, network relevance and investment need and funding opportunities of possible new railway connections are analysed. Finally, the study proposes recommendations how to smoothen the implementation of crossborder railway connections.

Two main findings are to be highlighted:

  1. Most of the small-scale cross-border railway connections do not belong to the TEN-T Core or Comprehensive Network and have previously mostly been disregarded from funding for investments.
  2. Gaps in the cross-border passenger rail network are not necessarily caused by missing elements of infrastructure: In many cases even on operational railway infrastructure there is a lack of cross-border passenger services. Competent authorities of the Member states can play a crucial role for implementing cross-border passenger services on these lines.

The study is available for download here.