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Europe's railways must be more compatible, says Danish minister

European railway networks do not 'speak the same language' in terms of technology, according to Flemming Hansen, Danish Minister for transport. Writing on the Danish Presidency website, Mr Hansen underlines the priority status that improving Europe's transport sectors is bein...

European railway networks do not 'speak the same language' in terms of technology, according to Flemming Hansen, Danish Minister for transport. Writing on the Danish Presidency website, Mr Hansen underlines the priority status that improving Europe's transport sectors is being awarded by the Danish Presidency. Improvements in this area are vital for both increased mobility and environmental reasons, writes Mr Hansen. 'Today, the average speed for freight trains travelling through Europe is 18 kilometres per hour, and one of the main reasons for this low speed is that the European railway networks do not 'speak the same language', so to speak. By language I mean not just the employees, but also the technologies, the rolling stock and equipment, and the safety systems used by the various countries,' says the minister. Key to increased mobility between Member States is making the different technologies compatible with one another. 'The reason why a great number of barriers to cross-border railway transport exist today may be traced back to former days, when the individual countries intentionally constructed railway system which, for military reasons, were designed to be incompatible. In my opinion, it is anachronistic and unacceptable that the railways of Europe do not function well across borders,' writes Mr Hansen. Mr Hansen recognises that fulfilling the Presidency's objectives may not be easy, but he is certainly committed to having a go. 'I shall do my best to achieve good results and thereby contribute to a more coherent and efficient transport sector, which will benefit both the citizens and the business community of Europe,' he concludes.

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