European Rail Congress  

Autumn has arrived and it brings with it the all new European Rail Congress and Awards which are taking place across 12-13th November in London. Delegates are booking fast and excitement is building. If you haven't already booked your place, now is the time to REGISTER and arrange your travel arrangements.


I am pleased to be involved as a judge for these inaugural awards that celebrate and highlight outstanding achievements in European rail.

Awards to recognise industry excellence help to inspire others to take similar steps in the same direction and to help newcomers learn from more established operators. Sharing knowledge, expertise and experience is extremely important, not only as a way to disseminate best practice but to encourage innovation to keep Europe's railways at the technological cutting edge.

These are important times for our industry as we expand and modernise into a seamless continental rail network, building on the achievements of the last decade.

Rail is well suited to cope with the expected increases in transport demand and, as a sustainable way of travel, will help to lessen our dependency on oil and meet the EU's ambitious but necessary targets on reducing greenhouse emissions.

The award finalists know very well that rail has to move with the times - and they have been instrumental in making sure that it has done so. I applaud all the efforts that the European rail industry has made to improve its efficiency and move passengers and freight users towards the heart of its development strategy.

The finalists also, I am sure, share my own aims. These are to increase rail's overall attractiveness by improving the efficiency, quality and punctuality of services to be offered across Europe at competitive prices. And of course, keeping our railways safe at the same time.

This is how rail can enhance its position as a real travel alternative - for both passengers and freight.

The Commission's proposals in the Fourth Railway Package are designed to turn this vision into reality. They focus on interoperability and safety, in particular strengthening the powers of the European Railway Agency; they will extend market opening to domestic passenger traffic; they will reinforce requirements on institutional separation between infrastructure managers and railway undertakings.

It is by working together, sharing ideas and experiences, and by following the example of those highlighted by these awards as industry success stories that we can make all this happen.



Polis is the network of European cities and regions striving for innovative transport solutions. In recent years, we and our members have been increasingly involved in initiatives to electrify surface transport at the regional-local as well as the European level.

For example, Polis had a primary role in the launch of the European Electromobility Observatory, the Clean Vehicle Portal, and the Platform for the Electrification of Surface Transport, in which Polis and eleven organisations from across industries and transport modes have join forces.

The Platform, which held its launch event on March 19th in Brussels, calls upon public authorities to support the further electrification of surface transport on the basis of a multi-modal approach. Existing and future electrified public transport infrastructure should serve as a backbone providing charging facilities for electric road vehicles, while also facilitating seamless multi-modal travel.

The statement says that electrification of surface transport is achievable with existing technologies using electrified railways. In the urban and sub-urban context, an expansion of electrified public transport services, including light rail, metro, and trolleybuses, and the successful deployment of light-duty electric road vehicles, buses and other captive fleets as well as electric two-wheelers are within reach now.

An overview on the Polis network agenda and activities on electromobility , including the Platform for Electrification on Surface Transport, will be given during the parallel session "Towards the deployment of integrated electromobility services" at the 2013 Annual Polis Conference on 4-5 December 2013 in Brussels.



Full review of the 1st Inaugural European Rail Congress Award winners

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