Full support for the EU proposal on the European Year of Rail in 2021

To promote and encourage sustainable mobility

Rome, 4 March 2020

Sustainability, innovation and safety. These are the three drivers behind railway transport that have pushed the European Commission to propose 2021 as the European Year of Rail.

Such objectives coincide with the path undertaken by the FS Italiane Group in its daily activities and, more generally, in the 2019-2023 Business Plan. This challenge confirms the Group’s constant commitment to promoting environmental sustainability, favouring modal shifts from road to train along with collective, shared and integrated mobility.

Railways are also the theme chosen by the Europalia International Arts Festival for the 2021 edition, joining the list of appointments scheduled for the European Year of Rail.

“The proposal for the 2021 European Year of Rail,” underlines Gianfranco Battisti, CEO of the FS Italiane Group, “acknowledges the role of the rail system in uniting people and places across Europe by zeroing out the distances and fostering sustainable and safe connections. The FS Group’s 2019-2023 Business Plan heads precisely in this direction, with investments to promote a new development model. The results of the Plan fit entirely into the horizon of the European Commission’s Green New Deal, with the commitment to contribute to achieving five of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Participation in Europalia 2021 also represents an important recognition for the FS Group—major events will be planned in the main Italian stations to demonstrate the link between the history and future of railways, acting as drivers in the development of the main sectors of the Italian and European economy.”

Sustainability. FS Italiane has launched a significant investment plan to renew the fleet of trains and buses, each year reducing the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by 600 million tonnes and removing 400,000 cars from Italian roads.

Innovation. The push towards innovation is confirmed by the six billion euro destined to digitisation and new technologies that will render—within the next five years—the Italian Railways a hub of digital innovation and a benchmark in the world of mobility and sustainable infrastructure.

Safety. This represents the other driver of the European Commission, in recognising rail transport as the safer means of travel. Thanks to infrastructure and technological investments, the Italian railway network is recognised throughout Europe as having some of the highest safety standards. The technological ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) employed in Italy for the high-speed network has been chosen by the European Union as a single standard that guarantees the sharing of a common “language” able to promote rail interoperability between the various European countries. The FS Italiane Group is also working with other European railway companies on new energy-supply systems that are complementary to the electric versions, with the use of hydrogen and batteries, along with the implementation of an ERTMS European Centre of Excellence based in Italy.