Rail transport in less advanced European nations can benefit significantly from western European research and expertise in this area. The EU-funded project 'Regional railway transport research and training centre foundation' (RRTC) integrated the scientific and educational potential for sustainable railway transport in the Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It established an association with the same name as the project (RRTC) that attracted members from all relevant institutions in Europe and beyond. Under the RRTC, extensive surveying of Balkan railways and transport systems and developing a human resources database formed the backbone of joint research projects, in conjunction with universities and research institutes. New partnerships were formed among the Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey. The RRTC was also highly present at the International Conference Transport 2005 and 2006, organised by the Higher School of Transport (VTU) in Sofia, Bulgaria. Results from networking and the conference have led to the publication of over 50 papers and several books, in addition to all the workshops, teaching exchanges, meetings and exhibitions that were held. In addition, the project attracted foreign companies that expressed their interest in collaborating with the RRTC. One of the RRTC's key achievements was the launch of a VTU Master's programme focused on automated design in manufacturing and encouraging transport staff training in the region. Courses aimed at transport staff lifelong learning were also organised in Sofia and Kraljevo. Overall, the RRTC became known in the scientific community from the Balkans as a formidable entity in this domain, especially considering its strong links with academia. As a result, the VTU and others were included in several European projects on transport that will upgrade the sector in line with western European standards. Last but not least, the project supported reintegrated collaboration within the Balkan region and fostered ties with EU research policy.