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Commission White Paper on new strategy for European railway network

The European Commission has adopted a White Paper on a new strategy to save Europe's railways from extinction.

The White Paper proposes a strategy for both freight and passenger rail traffic, involving wholesale reform of the present organizational structures and the creation...
The European Commission has adopted a White Paper on a new strategy to save Europe's railways from extinction.

The White Paper proposes a strategy for both freight and passenger rail traffic, involving wholesale reform of the present organizational structures and the creation of a new kind of railway which is first and foremost a business geared towards satisfying customer needs. The paper includes a four-step plan for the revitalization of EU railways:

- Clarifying the division of financial responsibility between the State and the railways to help relieve the railways' debt burden and allow independent financial management. Over time, this implies that railways should fall under the normal State aid rules;
- Assuring the provision of public service by awarding public service contracts;
- Closer coordination to integrate infrastructures, coordinate research and development, and harmonize technical standards;
- Working with Member States and railways themselves to designate a network of rail "freeways" - corridors along which rail freight has open access and therefore in many instances a greater priority over other railway traffic.

By revitalizing the Community's railways to make them more responsive to customer demands, the Commission hopes to encourage use of rail as a safe, environmentally responsible and commercially efficient alternative or complement to the roads.
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Subjects

Policies - Transport
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