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Rail, a solution for the future

Safe, environmentally friendly, and creating links between territories and border countries, the railways have all the assets to become the preferred mode of transport for passengers and freight.

The advantages of rail

Accelerating the transition to sustainable and intelligent mobility

The European Year of Rail is in line with the European Green Deal, which sets the European objective of climate neutrality by 2050. To support achievement of this objective, the European Commission encourages all major rail operators and infrastructure managers to engage in a progressive reflection on the future of rail.

  • 7%
    of passengers and 11% of goods travel by rail in Europe. Rates are still very low.
  • 0,5%
    of the greenhouse gas emissions in Europe are produced by rail. A real asset for developing rail traffic.

“Now, more than ever, is the time to develop the use of rail. It is time to ensure that all regions have modern infrastructure and solid connection networks. The time has come for smarter, more accessible and more user-oriented services. This is the perfect time for the European Year of Rail.”

Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, at the launch conference of the European Year of Rail on 29 March 2021



What to expect from the European Year of Rail

The European Year of Rail is a unique opportunity to highlight the benefits of rail! Throughout 2021, innovative practices and major projects will be shared through conferences, debates, exhibitions, etc. on a European scale.

In this context, major operators and infrastructure managers in all Member States are invited to propose actions to promote the attractiveness of rail transport, both to the public and private sectors. These actions should enhance the multiple dimensions of European rail, including:

  • its innovative character at global level
  • its role in European culture and heritage
  • its ability to connect territories, people and businesses
  • its involvement in the European Union’s relations with member countries
  • its part in sustainable tourism


Dates for your diary!

Whether as an organiser or simply a participant, SNCF Réseau will include its events throughout the year in the calendar of the European Commission, which is coordinating this symbolic year. 
Find the full programme of events on the European Commission’s official calendar


Upcoming events include:

    10 July: The Future of Mobility after the Pandemic
    This is a Conference which aim to start a debate among main stakeholders of the sector on how the mobility will change after the pandemic crisis and which will be the impact on public transport in cities, for instance with the new organization of work and the increase of smart working solutions, and freight transport, with particular reference to the role of rail.

    29 July: Veyn'Art 2021, touristic, artistic and historic train
    Welcome onboard of a 1974 railcar from where passengers can discover South of Alps landscapes from Sisteron to Briançon, and Veynes.

    2 Septembre: Departure of the Connecting Europe Express in Lisbonne
    Discover all the places the train will go through during its trip from Portugal to Estonia, and Greece. 

    Europe's railways: a springboard for SNCF Réseau projects

    Forging cooperation, seeking funding, contributing to technological and regulatory developments... SNCF Réseau’s Europe Division works with other infrastructure managers and European institutions to promote the company’s ambitions, projects and positions. European financial contributions represent a powerful leverage effect for creating value in French territories and promoting cross-border interoperability. This broad spectrum of cooperation is illustrated in particular by major projects such as the modernised Serqueux-Gisors line, the Lyon-Paris high-speed line, or the railway hubs in Lyon, Strasbourg and Mulhouse.

    Our projects supported by Europe

    Modernisation of the Serqueux-Gisors line

    • The modernisation of the Serqueux-Gisors line is intended to make the ports of Normandy a privileged access point for goods from all over the world, and the Seine Axis a bridge between the international market, the Ile-de-France hub and continental Europe.
    • The work has taken more than three years and was subsidised by the European Union to the tune of €71 million under the MIE/CEF programme.
    • On 12 March 2021, SNCF Réseau teams put this route back into commercial service for freight traffic. TER traffic, which was interrupted during the works, resumed on 29 March 2021.
    Find out more

    Installation of ERTMS on board trains

    • ERTMS is the European harmonised rail traffic management and signalling system.
    • In 2017, preliminary European funding of €116 million was used to equip the Paris-Lyon line.
    • In February 2021, SNCF Réseau obtained a €31 million grant to install ERTMS “on board” 252 rail vehicles belonging to its customers and partners.
    Find out more

    Modernisation of the Mulhouse railway junction

    • Mulhouse station (68) is a major rail hub in the Grand Est network, with regional, national and cross-border connections. This project, which will be completed in 2025, aims to improve train traffic, in terms of the capacity of the rail network at Mulhouse station and the quality of service for customers.
    • The total cost of the operation is estimated at €110.2 million, including €98.3 million in work co-financed by the European Union (study phase), the State, the Grand Est region and SNCF Réseau. European funding (via MIE/CEF, the trans-European transport infrastructure development programme): €24.6 million.
    • 2020-2021: modification work on the track layout and catenaries on the Strasbourg and Basel sides, as well as platform work. 2021-2023: signalling works. 2024-2025: commissioning of the connection to Central Network Control (CCR) and commissioning of the track and platform dedicated to the Mulhouse-Müllheim link.
    Find out more

    An active contribution to the construction of a Europe of railways

    Sustainable development, innovation, societal performance, commitment to youth employment, prevention actions and management of passenger safety and rail traffic reliability, regional development... through its initiatives and achievements, SNCF Réseau contributes every day to building the Europe of rail.

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