In the run-up to the European elections, in Germany, a broad alliance of industry associations, companies, and civil society organisations issued a joint declaration “Relaunch on rails” (14. May 2024) to make it clear that the EU climate targets can only be achieved with a significantly increased commitment to rail transport, underpinned by concrete targets and additional implementation instruments. The declaration therefore calls on the EU to make rail a focus of its legislation and investment decisions. The aim is to massively increase the attractiveness and capacity of rail transport throughout the EU.

The wake-up call was coordinated by Allianz pro Schiene, Germanwatch and the German Railway Industry Association VDB. Other signatories include, amongst others, companies such as Deutsche Bahn, Flix and Trainline, large business associations from the rail industry such as the Association of German Transport Companies, the Association of Freight Wagon Owners in Germany, the Federal Association of Local Rail Transport and MOFAIR, as well as the passenger association PRO BAHN.

According to the signatories of the Declaration, expansion, modernisation and digitalisation of rail transport should be accelerated across Europe via an investment boost, making more EU funds easier to access. A Masterplan for cross-border rail should be developed and booking train tickets for journeys in Europe must become easier. The transformation must be financed sustainably, including by reducing environmentally counterproductive transport subsidies. Attracting skilled workers and optimised regulations in the rail sector should simplify the accelerated modernisation of rail, aligned with climate and transport policy goals.

The full declaration can be found on PRO BAHN’s website. The English version can be found here.