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1.5.2 Rail Freight Corridors

As part of the 2007 Freight Transport Agenda (EC, 2007a), which also included the Freight Transport Logistics Action Plan of Sect. 1.2.2, the Commission issued a Communication on a freight-oriented rail network (EC, 2007d), which aimed at making rail freight more competitive, in particular by ensuring lower transit times and increasing rail's reliability and responsiveness to customer requirements. The following actions were proposed:

• Creation of freight-oriented corridors

• Measures on improving service quality along a corridor

• Increasing the infrastructure capacity of a corridor

• More coordination and more priority to international freight trains

• Priority rules applying in the case of traffic disturbance

• Improving ancillary rail services (especially terminals and marshalling yards)

• Monitoring of the measures proposed.

This initiative eventually led to the adoption of Regulation No 913/2010 (EP&C, 2010a), which lays down rules for the establishment, organization and management of international rail corridors with a view to developing a European rail network for competitive freight.

The nine initially designated Rail Freight Corridors (RFCs) appear in Fig. 1.4. A process of capacity allocation to freight trains with better coordination of priority

Fig. 1.4 The European Rail Network for Competitive Freight. Source: EC (2011b)

rules and prioritizing, among freight trains, those that cross at least one border is described in the Regulation for the RFCs.

It further sets up detailed rules for the governance of each RFC through:

• an executive board composed of representatives of the authorities of the Member States concerned,

• a management board composed of the infrastructure managers concerned and, where relevant, the allocation bodies,

• an advisory group made up of managers and owners of the terminals of the RFC

including, where necessary, sea and inland waterway ports, and

• a further advisory group made up of railway undertakings interested in the use of the freight corridor.

The measures for implementing the RFC, described by the Regulation, include:

• drafting and periodically updating a transportation market study relating to the existing and expected traffic conditions on the RFC,

• drawing up an implementation plan describing:

– the characteristics of the freight corridor (including bottlenecks),

– the programme of measures necessary for creating the freight corridor,

– the objectives for the RFC, in particular in terms of the quality of service and the capacity of the corridor,

• drawing up and periodically reviewing an investment plan providing details of:

– indicative mediumand long-term investment for infrastructure and its equipment along the corridor,

– the relevant financial requirements and sources of finance,

– a deployment plan relating to the interoperable systems along the freight corridor, and

– a plan for the management of the capacity of freight trains which may run on

the freight corridor,

• setting up an one-stop-shop for application for infrastructure capacity, which would also display infrastructure capacity available at the time of request and its characteristics in accordance with pre-defined parameters,

• monitoring the performance of rail freight services on the freight corridor and publishing the results of this monitoring once a year, and

• organizing a satisfaction survey of the users of the freight corridor and publishing the results of it once a year.

The governance structures of transportation corridors are further discussed in Chap. 4, and more on green rail transportation can be found in Chap. 12 of this book.

 
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