ON THE OCCASION OF THE SPECIAL DATE, AN EXTENSIVE AGENDA OF ACTIVITIES HAS BEEN DRAWN UP THAT WILL BE CARRIED OUT THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. THE OBJECTIVE IS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE NEED FOR A MODAL SHIFT WHERE THE MAIN CHARACTER IS THE RAILWAY, THE ULTIMATE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY MODEL THAT EUROPE IS LOOKING FOR.
The year 2021 has been marked in the calendar of the European Union as the one destined to give a strong boost to one of the most sustainable means of transport such as the railway. That is why Brussels has declared it the ‘European Year of Rail’.
This commemoration joins the steps that have been taken in recent years to build an emission-free mobility model. These include the 2019 European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, adopted in December 2020 by the European Commission.
Europe wants to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. On this date it is intended for transport, in all its forms, to have a reduction of at least 90% in emissions. And in this regard, the railway has much to say if, as pointed out by the European Commission, there is a greater demand and actions that lead to a better use of its resources are coordinated by the different governments. This way, the railway will be the main character of mobility: sustainable, digital, and connected.
This mode of transport accounts for less than 0.5% of total emissions in the European Union, compared with 72% on road and 13.4% on aircraft.
The declaration is also a way of drawing the attention of European citizens to the use of the railways for their mobility. A European debate is to be achieved that deals with, and is concerned about, showing the benefits that this transport brings and tackling some of the outstanding challenges.
The adoption of the ‘fourth railway package’ two years ago is now being endorsed by this initiative, which wants the railway to be seen as one of the key elements for successfully implementing the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) project and the future development of the nine European passenger and goods Communication Corridors.
To mark such an important date, an extensive agenda of activities has been drawn up, with an overall budget of eight million euros. Each Member State is responsible for organising on its territory the initiatives it deems appropriate for this commemoration. In the case of Spain, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) has appointed the Spanish Railways Foundation (FFE) to articulate the coordination and performance of activities in Spain related to this commemoration together with the entities of the sector, among which is Mafex.
All the scheduled activities can be checked in the national calendar on the MITMA website.
Among the events planned the highlight is the celebration of the Rail Live! fair and congress organized by Terrapinn and Mafex, the launch of the “Connecting Europe Express” train, which will pass through Spain in September, or the study of the technological situation and the application of new formulas to this means of transport, by the Official College of Telecommunications Engineers. Likewise, the European Light Rail Congress will take place in Zaragoza, and there will be a declaration about the days of the Greenways in some Autonomous Communities. All this under a slogan with which the development of this special year is presented on the MITMA website: “Let us show you the future: hop on the train”.
Moreover, in the case of Spain, the Ministry points out that Europe is the world leader in the railway industry, and that the country has the longest length of European high-speed road infrastructure and the second in the world. In addition, it highlights the role that the train plays both, in culture and in heritage, as well as its importance for the connections of regions, people and companies, and its contribution to sustainable tourism.
This special year is not only a celebration, but also “a paradigm shift”, because what this declaration is intended to achieve is to make progress in the creation of an integrated, attractive, competitive, and emissions-free European Railway Area.
Rail Live!, a key event of the European Year of Rail
One of the main activities on the agenda of the European Year of Rail is the Rail Live! Fair and congress, organized by Terrappin in collaboration with Mafex.
This professional platform will bring together representatives of the international railway sector in Madrid (IFEMA), from 30th November to 1st December. This edition will delve into three major themes: digitalisation, liberalisation and sustainability.
The exhibition will be represented by companies from all over the value chain to show their latest developments and railway solutions and services. In addition, the congress will have a large range of more than 250 speakers, representatives of infrastructure managers, passenger and goods operators, transport authorities, etc.
Rail Live! it is an opportunity to get back on track in a booming industry, with great opportunities for growth in the coming years, as well as for establishing new contacts with the key players in the shift towards sustainable mobility.
IFEMA, a safe space
The new edition of Rail Live! will be held at IFEMA, a 100% secure space that complies with all cleaning, disinfection, and safety protocols against COVID-19. Both in terms of access and within the facility, the allowed capacity and the minimum distances are guaranteed at all times and the use of face masks is mandatory. This event joins those that have already been held recently with full safety measures such as Fitur 2021, the HIP-Hospitality Innovation Planet or the next ARCO Madrid 2021 in July.
In the following link you can check the complete guide of the Covid regulations that are applied by the venue.
More information: here