European Rail Congress  

Welcome to the newsletter of the European Rail Congress, a two day industry Summit and annual Rail Awards ceremony. Our monthly newsletters will keep you informed with everything you need to know about the Event. They will also include insightful commentary and analysis on topical issues from key players across the European rail market.


The European Rail Congress runs across 12th-13th November in London and brings together the European railway industry to discuss and debate important developments that will determine the future of the European rail sector.

Rail has strong advantages over other forms of land transport. It provides efficient, high quality and safe connectivity across Europe; reduces Europe's emission of greenhouse gases; boosts jobs and economic growth; and facilitates European competitiveness.

Its railway industry employs around 800,000 workers with more indirect employment in manufacturing and rail related services, generating a turnover of €73bn. Growth is expected to reach 2.7% each year for the next five years, producing further jobs.

More than 8 billion passenger journeys are made by train each year across Europe. As the greenest form of major transport, boosting the switch to rail has the potential to further help reduce greenhouse gases.

Rail is also critical to joining up the trans-European transport network which we need for economic growth and efficiency. A truly unified transport network will deliver safer, smoother and less congested travel, with shorter journey times.

With such obvious benefits, why has rail been unable to occupy the mode share it deserves? While its market share across passenger transport is stable, it still only remains around 6%, while freight's share is falling.

The European Commission believes the answer lies in the fragmented nature of its network and market and has published proposals for the Fourth Railway Package which it says will help rail to thrive. The proposals aim to develop a strong and competitive rail transport industry through opening up the rail transport market to competition; improving the interoperability and safety of national networks; and developing rail transport infrastructure.

View the latest agenda and book your place now at


  Other confirmed speakers include:

David Martin, Chief Executive, Arriva;

Klas Wahlberg, CEO of Bombardier Transportation in Sweden and Chief Country Representative

Keir Fitch, Deputy head of cabinet of Siim Kallas, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of transport

Brian Simpson MEP, Chairman, European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee

Marcel Verslype, Executive Director, European Railway Agency;

Trevor Garrod, Chairman, European Passenger Federation

Monika Heiming, Executive Director, European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM)

Mike Brown, Managing Director London Underground & London Rail;

Paul Plummer, Group Strategy Director, Network Rail

Richard Price, Chief Executive, UK Office of Rail Regulation

Anders Ygeman, Chairman of the Committee on Transport and Communications, Swedish Parliament

John Smith, CEO, GB Railfreight

Lord Tony Berkeley, Chairman, Rail Freight Group

Dominique Riquet MEP, Vice-Chair of European Parliament's Transport & Tourism Committee

Ed Thomas, Director of transport advisory group, KPMG

Alain Flausch, Secretary General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP)


Jim Steer

Jim Steer is director and founder of Steer Davies Gleave. He is this year's president of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in the UK

It doesn't fit with received wisdom - and certainly not with the analysis that underpinned the McNulty Review - but Britain has the best passenger railway in Europe. So much so, that the rest of Europe is getting the full British model imposed on it, franchising and all.

This much the EU has adopted in its fourth railway package. The evidence from the European Commission is clear: the UK has the strongest growth in rail market share, tops the league in growth of customer satisfaction (interestingly measured over the period of rail privatisation 1997-2012), tops the growth in passenger traffic per line-km and - best of all - tops performance on rail safety.

The UK also leads in improvement in efficiency, despite railway employment numbers having increased between 2000 and 2008 by 13%, while falling by 13% across the EU as a whole. Over the same period, while subsidies for public service obligations grew in France, Italy and Spain, they fell by 23% in the UK. Only the Netherlands has a higher utilisation of infrastructure, measured as passenger-km/line-km. The only really poor score is on fares, with increases in the UK in real terms between 2000 and 2011 of 34%, against an EU average of 28% (16% in Germany and just 10% in France).

Richard Brown was right to insist the franchised railway system should continue largely unchanged. Those who continue to bewail the failures of the privatised system, with track separated from train, and "excessive company profits" need to find another script. The evidence doesn't back them up. These critics will be left touting the virtues of favoured railway nation Switzerland, since it doesn't feature in EU-based 27 nation statistics.

But there is another statistic that accompanies this positive exam result to which I want to turn. Despite the excellent performance on rail, the UK has the second highest proportionate use of private cars in the EU (after Slovenia). Indeed, the rail market share in the UK (7.3% of passenger-km in 2010) may be growing strongly, but it is only at the European average and well behind the levels reached in France (9.8%), Netherlands (9.0%) and Germany (7.9%). So there is no need to assume rail travel and market share cannot grown further in the decades ahead. But why the high level of car dependence?



POLIS: Platform for the Electrification of Surface Transport
Hitachi Rail Europe: Putting the passenger at centre stage

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