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October 6, 2014

European Commission seeks partners for rail research initiative

The European Commission has announced a call for expressions of interest seeking partners for the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking initiative.

By Samseer M

The European Commission has announced a call for expressions of interest seeking partners for the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking initiative.

The joint undertaking will invest €1bn in research and innovation over the next six years to bring more passengers and freight onto Europe’s railways.

The call for expression aims to attract partners to work with the commission and the eight founding members of the initiative to provide new technologies to improve the quality, reliability and punctuality of rail services along with reducing the cost and enabling cross-border travel.

"Shift2Rail will help to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and retain Europe’s leadership in the global rail market."

It also supports the commission’s proposals to enhance the quality of rail services through market opening and improvements to technical interoperability and approval under the Fourth Railway Package.

European Commission vice-president and commissioner for mobility and transport Siim Kallas said: "Shift2Rail is a unique opportunity to develop strategic technologies and solutions that will radically improve the quality of EU rail transport for passengers and freight customers.

"At the same time, Shift2Rail will help to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and retain Europe’s leadership in the global rail market."

The founding members of the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking include Alstom, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier, Siemens, Thales and CAF, Trafikverket and Network Rail. They will jointly contribute at least €270m to the initiative.

By seeking more partners, it aims to acquire a minimum of €200m to achieve the objectives of the draft Shift2Rail strategic master plan.

The five key innovation programmes of the research and innovation activities include cost-efficient and reliable trains, high-capacity infrastructure and advanced traffic management and control systems.

The last date for application submissions is 12 November and the final selection will be take place in early 2015.

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