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New €920 Million Rail Innovation Partnership Approved


The Council approved, on 16 June 2014, a Commission proposal for a Regulation setting up the "Shift2Rail" Joint Undertaking, a new public-private partnership to manage research and innovation activities in support of the development of better rail services in Europe. The proposal, which was negotiated in parallel to the ten initiatives of the Innovation Investment Package that were adopted by the Council on 6 May 2014, had also received broad support from Parliament in April, with 638 votes in favour and only 29 against.
Located in Brussels, the "Shift2Rail" Joint Undertaking will be officially established on 7 July, and operations are expected to kick off in early 2015. Shift2Rail’s goal is to support the objectives of the 2011 Transport White Paper and the modal shift towards rail from other less sustainable transport modes by making rail more cost-efficient and attractive.
The innovative technologies and solutions to be developed, demonstrated and validated by Shift2Rail are expected to double the capacity of the railway transport system, to reduce its lifecycle cost by 50% and to decrease unreliability and late arrivals by 50%. The Joint Undertaking will also support the global leadership of the European rail industry, thereby creating jobs and increasing exports.
The new undertaking will manage all rail-focused research and innovation actions co-funded by the EU. It will actively promote the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, including, for instance, manufacturers of railway equipment, passengers’ and freight associations, and the relevant scientific community.
Shift2Rail will be set up by the EU and by eight partners from the industry, which are: Alstom, Ansaldo, Bombardier, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocariles, Network Rail, Siemens, Thales and Trafikverket. Associated members will be selected through an open call for membership, which will be launched in August/September 2014.More information is available at the SHIFT²RAIL website.