Rome,1st June 2016
The new international rail links between Milan and Frankfurt via Switzerland will be open in December 2017.
This is one of the points on the memorandum of understanding signed yesterday in Lugano, Switzerland, by CEO of FS Italiane Renato Mazzoncini, CEO of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) Andreas Meyer and CEO of Deutsche Bahn (DB) Rüdiger Grube.
Together with the new links, the agreement provides for better connections between the countries and an overall improvement in timeliness.
Through a joint declaration in the same agreement, the CEOs of all these European rail companies confirmed their wish to work in synergy in order to deal with the mobility challenges of the future.
The aim is to make rail travel the mode of transport of choice by taking advantage of its greatest strength, namely that trains are capable of carrying a large quantity of passengers and goods to their destinations on long routes in a reliable, safe and timely manner. The essential requirement is that the rules are the same for everyone in the competition between the various modes of transport: the regulatory framework must be improved with a view to opening up the market. For this reason, the CEOs are asking the political world to take responsibility by providing stable, long-term funding for maintenance and expansion of the railway infrastructure.
The meeting of the European CEOs, held the day before the inauguration of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, also took stock of the new opportunities opened up by the Tunnel, particularly for freight traffic.
The agreement reached sets out a strategic plan for the cross-border freight links.
From an infrastructural viewpoint, according to the agreements between Switzerland, Italy and Germany, the access lines will be completed in the next few years and, from 2020, the new flat rail route will make it possible to take full advantage of trains of up to 750 metres in length and the 4-metre corridor.
Finally, the CEOs also discussed the need to speed up the digitalisation of processes and the harmonisation of ticketing systems between the various countries.
Exchange of data and the introduction of standards will make it possible to simplify procedures, reduce costs and pave the way for innovation.