What are the options for high-speed rail in Europe?


While the European Parliament has just adopted a new dedicated transport infrastructure fund, a study analyses the costs and benefits of high-speed.

End November 2013, Members of the European Parliament adopted by a large majority two legislative texts concerning the establishment of a new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and orientations for the Trans-European Transport Network.

These two texts define European transport infrastructure policy for the period 2014-2020. The CEF, an investment fund with a budget of 29.3 billion euros for the period 2014-2020, will finance targeted investments.

80 % of the total budget will be reserved for the development of the Trans-European Transport Network. The purpose of this network is to improve cross-border connections, remove bottlenecks, cover the ‘missing links’ in the European network and streamline cross-border operations throughout the EU.

In this context, a consultancy, Civity, officially presented a study hosted by Malcolm Harbour, Chairman of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, on options for high-speed rail in Europe during a debate at the European Parliament.

Its conclusions were awaited with great interest by the participants in the debate, Members of the European Parliament, European Commission and the specialised press. The study analyses the costs and benefits of three alternatives: line upgrade for operation at 200 kph, construction of a new line for operation at 250 kph and construction of a new line for operation at 300 kph.

It identifies the key parameters (starting demand, price elasticity, the number of stops, line topography, the cost of the upgrade option) that determine the best cost-benefit ratio for each option.

Proposing global as well as case-by-case solutions, such as for the Amsterdam-Warsaw or Riga-Warsaw lines, this study will help to provide an objective assessment of the costs and benefits of various corridors in particular between the Central and Western and Eastern European networks. Watch this space.

You can access the full study by clicking on the following link. (English and German only).

European flag. Copyright: Alstom Corporate Communications/Eric Lamperti