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Council adopts Shift2Rail joint undertaking regulation to boost rail innovation

The Council today adopted a regulation setting up a public-private partnership called Shift2Rail joint undertaking (9018/14 + 9018/14 COR1; statement 10357/14 ADD 1). The new entity will manage a research and innovation work programme to support the development of better rail services in Europe. Located in Brussels, it will be officially established in early July, and operations are expected to kick off in early 2015.

Shift2Rail’s goal is 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 innovative technologies and solutions to be developed, demonstrated and validated by Shift2Rail are expected to boost the EU rail sector’s competitiveness vis-à-vis other modes of transport and foreign competition, as well as to create jobs and increase exports.

The new undertaking will manage all rail-focused research and innovation actions cofunded 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.

The EU’s share of the funding will come from the Horizon 2020 programme, and it will amount to a maximum of EUR 450 million over the period 2014 to 2020. Additional funds may be allocated from other EU instruments to support the deployment of Shift2Rail’s innovative solutions. The industry’s total contribution will be at least EUR 470 million. Shift2Rail’s mandate will end on 31 December 2024, after which it will be wound up.

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