Brussels up close – European Railway Award 2018
Hundreds of guests from all over Europe accepted the invitation to the Brussels SQUARE Meeting Center at the end of February for the annual award ceremony of the Railway Award. This year’s award went to the longest underground rail link in the world – the Gotthard Base Tunnel project. In addition to high-ranking politicians and transport representatives, the audience included our colleague Naida Sivsic, currently stationed in Brussels.
For two months now is our employee Naida in Brussels, actively supporting the Community of European Railways (CER), which together with the Association of the European Railway Industry (UNIFE) has organized this year’s European Railway Award. The festive evening event at the SQUARE Meeting Center in Brussels attracted over 500 interested guests from across Europe, including hosts Libor Lochman, CER Executive Director, and Philippe Citroën, UNIFE General Director. Both focused on the important negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) in their speeches.
The 11th edition of the European Railway Award, which honors political and technical contributions to the European railway sector, was initially in the character of a discussion round. Representatives of the transport and transport industry set priorities for the year 2018 in the debate, notably the design of the MFF and the implementation of the 4th Railway Package. Against the background that rail transport forms the backbone of climate protection, the discussants agreed to standardize the framework conditions for multimodal transports in the future- in particular rail freight transports. This is intended primarily to reduce costs and, as a result, to shift significantly more freight traffic from road to rail. For example, in France currently only 10% of all goods are transported by rail. Among other things, the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) will serve as a control system for railway traffic on the Trans-European Rail Network to increase capacity. In addition, the discussion was dominated by other topics on investment, taxation, digitization and start-ups.
Then it was finally time. Together with hundreds of applauding guests, our colleague Naida celebrated the winning project of the year 2018: The Gotthard Base Tunnel Project. The 57 km long and thus the longest railway tunnel in the world traverses the central Swiss Alps in north-south direction. Amongst other things, the parallel tunnels underpass the Gotthard massif and connect the German-speaking Canton of Uri with the Italian-speaking Canton of Ticino. The Gotthard Base Tunnel will make a significant contribution to shifting freight to rail, as the high-end tunnel system allows more volumes to be transported thanks to longer and heavier trains. Peter Jedelhauser, former head of the Gotthard-North-South-Corridor project at the SBB, and Renzo Simoni, former CEO of AlpTransit Gotthard AG, accepted the award on behalf of the European project group that successfully launched the Project.