T&E paper on rail policy
T&E outlines its approach to rail policy.
Despite political statements supporting an increase in the importance of railways especially in the freight sector, this mode has consistently lost market share and transported volumes since 1970.
Different political attempts have been made to reverse these developments. Almost 10 years ago, the European institutions adopted a directive (91/440/EC) which was intended to improve the railways’ performance by applying competition within the rail sector. In 1995 two other directives were adopted, defining the rules of licensing railway companies and of allocating and charging for the railways infrastructure.
The effectiveness of this legal framework was very low. Only in a few countries, were these rules applied in reality in a transparent and open way. Apart from a few exceptions, the current situation in the rail sector is consequently almost the same as it was 10 years ago with a structure that stems from the late 19th or early 20th century. Huge national companies dominate the market with a local and modal monopoly. These companies show only limited interests and abilities in improving and developing their freight services towards the requirements of current or potential customers to regain market share.
Currently, the existing legislation is being revised. With regard to this process, but also with regard to the following implementation of the revised directives, and with regard to T&E’s project “Freight: From Road to Rail”, T&E has defined its position on rail policy.