Central Europe cities are the "first/last legs" of transnational transport chains. These chains consist of local, regional and transnational transport systems. On the one hand high speed connections among rail hubs in central Europe are being upgraded, especially on TEN-T networks and along the main intercity lines. On the other hand rail and in general public transport feeder lines need an upgrade, strengthening and better organisation. That calls for a multimodal integration of local/city transport networks, regional transport systems and transnational transport axes, in particular TEN-T. City rail hubs have a role to integrate these different transport levels as means for improved transport interconnectivity in central Europe. The challenge that the RAILHUC partners share is the development of models, concepts, measures, harmonised strategies and policy actions targeted to the improvement of rail and intermodal transport in the area.
The CENTRAL EUROPE Project RAILHUC scope is to investigate how infrastructural and organisational interventions can bring substantial benefits to the Central European railway network. To achieve such ambitious results, the first set of the project activities focused on the analysis to update the current positioning of the 13 involved rail hubs (Reggio Emilia, Brno, Havlickuv Brod, Jihlava, Erfurt, Dresden, Halle, Leipzig, Gyor, Venice, Bratislava, Zilina, Ljubljana) with a particular focus on the functioning and their operational features. The analysis also focused on the calibration of the rail / road services to support intermodality for the involved hubs. The review analysed also the impact of the territorial dimension on the hubs governance (i.e. MACRO/TEN-T, MESO/regional. and MICRO/nodes analysis). The positioning analysis (i.e. AS IS analysis) produced updated dynamic models for all involved hubs. These models allowed the identification of existing bottlenecks which will beremoved to improve the railway connectivity both at local and international level. The positioning update exercise was carried out in parallel with the investigation on the best practices (both internal and external to the consortium) to build on previous experiences and refine the following analysis aimed at the identification of future scenarios. Five site visits (in Vienna, Stuttgart, Berlin, Dresda, Chemnitz) were organised to allow the participants to check the status of the art of the works in progress of these nodal railway hubs. Following the update of the position of the RAILHUC hubs, the analysis focused on the identification of possible future scenarios and in the detection of the bottlenecks hampering the deployment of the hubs’ full potential. In the following phase, the identified scenarios will be discussed with local stakeholders to find a common ground on future interventions on the RAILHUC hubs.
Together with the more technical activities, the project set up a strong communication strategy from the its very beginning to disseminate the project results and keep the local stakeholders in the loop of the RAILHUC analysis. Specific local events were organised to inform the respective local communities about project findings and set the ground for the development of the future roundtables which are key in the scenarios selection and in the agreements finalisation.