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International Forwarding Association Blog » Railway transport in Europe » Enhancing Freight Forwarding through EU Rail Infrastructure Upgrades

Enhancing Freight Forwarding through EU Rail Infrastructure Upgrades

Recent developments in rail infrastructure are reshaping freight forwarding across Europe. The expansion of high-speed rail networks, integration of the ERTMS, electrification of lines, improvements in regional services, and enhancements in freight corridors are collectively upgrading the transport infrastructure in the region. As these initiatives improve connections and efficiency, they provide freight forwarders with more sustainable and reliable transportation options.

 

High-Speed Rail Network Expansion

The expansion of high-speed rail networks aims to connect major cities across Europe with faster and more efficient rail services. For instance, the Rail Baltica project is set to link Finland, the Baltic States, and Poland with a high-speed rail line. Similarly, the planned Lyon-Turin high-speed rail link will improve connections between France and Italy. For European logistics providers, such developments allow for rapid and reliable transportation, especially for time-sensitive deliveries like perishable goods, urgent medical supplies, and high-demand retail products.

 

Integration of European Rail Traffic Management System

The EU is actively integrating the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), a key development for unifying railway signaling across Europe. This technology aims to replace various national systems, which will allow trains to cross borders smoothly without technical adjustments. The deployment of ERTMS in the Rhine-Alpine corridor, which connects major EU economic regions, is one example. In this corridor, ERTMS standardizes signals and safety measures, including unified speed signaling and automated train protection notifications.

 

Electrifying Rail Lines

Upgrading and electrifying existing rail lines are key aspects of the EU’s rail infrastructure development. The electrification of the Dresden-Prague corridor, for example, moves away from diesel-powered trains and marks a shift toward sustainable transport. Similar electrification projects, like those in the Milan-Genoa and Barcelona-Madrid corridors, support environmental goals and enhance transport efficiency. For forwarders, these developments translate to more eco-friendly transport options, which enable them to meet sustainability targets.

 

Development of Urban and Regional Rail Services

Efforts are being made to enhance the capacity and frequency of urban and regional rail services. The Crossrail project in London, for example, introduces new train lines, while the Grand Paris Express in France adds new lines and stations to the existing metro system. Such developments reduce urban traffic congestion and provide forwarders with smoother access through less crowded city routes. Furthermore, the expansion of urban rail networks creates opportunities for integrated logistics solutions where goods are transferred from long-distance trains to local storage and distribution networks.

 

Enhancing EU Freight Corridors

The enhancement of dedicated freight corridors is important for improving rail cargo transport efficiency in the EU. Projects like the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link between Denmark and Germany will transform rail freight in Northern Europe. Such developments not only shorten transit times but increase cargo volume capacity. Another example is the Brenner Base Tunnel between Italy and Austria, which offers a direct route for heavier and longer trains. This project enhances rail efficiency across the Alps and provides forwarders with more efficient cross-regional transport options.