Recommendations in Consequence of the Rastatt Tunnel Incident

The EGTC and its members strive for strengthening and coordinating the integrated development of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor as it is laid down in its Joint Strategy . This implies also supporting activities leading to a modal shift from road to rail and waterways, as well as activities reducing the negative impact of transport for the citizens.

The incident at the Rastatt tunnel construction site led to a closure of the railway section Rastatt – Baden-Baden from 12 August to 2 October 2017. This incident caused the disruption of the major international Rhine-Alpine Corridor with a tremendous impact and it undermined the EGTC’s objectives.

Emerged problems:

Although the accident occurred during less frequented months at summer season (150 instead of 200 trains a day), both freight and passenger transport were strongly affected. Alternative freight routes in Germany, France and Austria became accessible only gradually and with limited capacity. Hence, customer confidence in rail transport has been severely damaged.

Key problems identified are:

  • The closure of only a small stretch of railway line leads to enormous consequences to the entire and interdependent Corridor;
  • Incident has exposed rail as the weak part of the integrated and intermodal logistics chain;
  • A lack of communication with other modes of transport in order to redirect freight;
  • Limited use of the synchro modality concept, allowing to decide day-by-day about which mode to choose for a specific transport task;
  • Coordination of construction planning along the Corridor and its neighbouring areas needs to be improved;
  • Lack of viable and economically efficient alternatives for re-routing;
  • ational technical and staff requirements with divergent standards proved to be an obstacle for seamless international transport.

Recommendations and necessary actions:

In line with the first development priority formulated in its Joint Strategy, the EGTC underlines the necessity of an improved Corridor wide coordination of infrastructure works and construction management. This includes the timely information on planned line closures or restrictions in order to provide for resilient and seamless transport operations. However, also operational accidents, natural hazards or any other kinds of incidents have to be considered.

Three steps for improvement:

  1. A prevailing consequence of the Rastatt incident is the necessity to ensure resilience for the Corridor. Therefore, we ask for a comprehensive risk analysis for the Corridor concerning main and alternatives routes, involving all relevant logistics stakeholders;
  2. On this basis, emergency plans for different risk scenarios need to be elaborated jointly, including relevant stakeholders and experts from all countries along the Corridor. Such plans should comprise adequate pre-defined alternative routes, fit for immediate use in case of necessity, applying the synchro modality approach.
  3. Finally, in order to implement the emergency plans, we suggest to establish an effective crisis management, which is ready for action if needed.

Furthermore, the following issues need to be taken in consideration:

  • Improvements for (EU) investments and funding to reduce bottlenecks, also for alternative routes (TEN-T core and comprehensive routes);
  • Harmonisation of standards in order to overcome national restrictions in regard to technical and staff incompatibilities and limitations;
  • Ensure interoperability along the Corridor, e.g. ETCS equipment also for alternative railway lines;
  • Use the existing Rhine-Alpine Corridor Forum as a platform for facilitating mutual information and coordination.

Madame Trautmann Welcomes the EGTC in Strasbourg

Madame Trautmann, President of the Port of Strasbourg and European Corridor Coordinator for the North Sea – Baltic Sea Corridor welcomed the EGTC to its 6th Assembly Meeting in Strasbourg on 6 November 2017. The dense programme of the day included an overview of projects and initiatives in the Rhine-Alpine Corridor and a fruitful discussion on the position paper of the EGTC to the concequences from the Rastatt Tunnel incident from August 2017.

The EGTC position paper was also consulted with the Advisory Board of the EGTC that gathered later in the afternoon to its 2nd meeting. Besides valuable feedback to the paper, members of the Advisory Board also gave interesting presentations on their Activities. The EGTC members in turn, presented their ongoing projects VitalNodes (Horizon 2020), RAISE-IT (CEF) and ERFLS (CEF).

Project „Vital Nodes“ approved

Another project with involvement of our EGTC has been approved! “VITALNODES – Building a lasting expert network that delivers evidence-based recommendations for Vital Urban Nodes along TEN-T Corridors” submitted under the Horizon 2020 programme under the lead of Rijkswaterstaat (NL) has been chosen for funding and the preparation of the Grant Agreement has started.

VitalNodes will build a lasting European network of key stakeholders based on existing European, national and regional networks. This is done by enriching and applying a proven approach for the optimisation of economic, social and environmental vitality of urban areas from the perspective of multimodal transport infrastructure and spatial development (‘Networking for Urban Vitality’, NUVit). VitalNodes will deliver evidence-based recommendations for more (cost) efficient and sustainable integration of all 88 urban nodes in the TEN-T network corridors, addressing specifically the multi- and intermodal connection between long-distance and last-mile freight logistics. These recommendations will be validated by applying an appraisal tool and involving experts from the growing VitalNodes network.

EGTC Activity Report 2015-2016

On 24 April 2015, the “Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine-Corridor EGTC” has been founded in Mannheim with ten founding members as follow-up of the Interreg VB NWE Strategic Initiative CODE24. The main objective of the EGTC is to facilitate and promote the territorial cooperation among its members and to jointly strengthen and coordinate the territorial and integrated development of the multimodal Rhine-Alpine Corridor from the regional and local perspective.
In the meantime, the number of members has grown to 21 and covers 6 countries. The EGTC is already recognized as a respected organisation since the short time of its founding and is also represented in the official EU-Corridor Forum Rhine-Alpine. The EGTC successfully directs funds to corridor related activities and projects like “ERFLS – European Rail Freight Line System” or “RAISE-IT – Rhine-Alpine Integrated and Seamless Travel Chain”. We are glad to present our report that gives an overview of the achievements of the EGTC from its founding in April 2015 till 2016 here.

New Edition „One Corridor – One Strategy“

The common Strategy for the development of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor as presented by the CODE24 project in 2014 provided the outlook for the future tasks of the EGTC „Interregional alliance for the development of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor“. First revision of the Strategy was done by the EGTC in 2016 and is now published here!

Expert Committees Discuss Projects in Duisburg

The Expert Committees of the the EGTC are responsible for initiating projects that serve the Joint Strategy for the development of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor. On 8 March 2017, the 2 Expert Committees met at the Port of Duisburg to discuss ongoing and planned projects.

The presented projects and initiatives ranged from developing a seamless travel chain for passengers between Urban Nodes in the Corridor over more sustainable freight transport through multimodal freight bundling or intelligent use of alternative fuels along the entire Corridor to rail noise monitoring.

Not only projects within, but also to/from the Rhine-Alpine Corridor were discussed. The Expert Committee „Spatial and Transport Planning; Economic Development and Logistics“ chaired by Dr. Wolfgang G. Müller had a special guest contribution by Mr. Leonardo Vender from the Far East Land Bridge FELB. FELB operates freight trains between China and Europe with transit times of 14-16 days. In the Rhine-Alpine Corridor, Duisburg is the main destination for FELB because it is the largest international hub in Europe.

In the Expert Committee „Environment and Energy“ chaired by Josef Offele, especially project initiatives on rail noise and inland waterways were discussed.

Meeting of the Working Group on Core Urban Nodes and Regions

Corridor Coordinator Paweł Wojciechowski invited the Working Group on Core Urban Nodes and Regions of the Rhine-Alpine Core Network Corridor to a meeting on 30 January 2017 in Mannheim, Germany.

It is the goal of the Corridor Coordinator to promote good practices for the efficient management and use of infrastructures. In the Second Work Plan for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor – which has recently been approved by all Member States– it is clearly stated that successful implementation of the Corridor depends on a strong commitment and involvement of all stakeholders. Furthermore, in the Issues Paper “TEN-T Corridors: Forerunners of a forward –looking European Transport System” of June 2016, the European Coordinators have addressed the need for effective integration of urban nodes into
the corridors.

By bringing together the Core Urban Nodes and Regions along our Corridor, the Corridor Coordinator would like to encourage the participants to share knowledge and learn from each other. Conclusions from the Working Group will be presented at the next Corridor Forum Meeting in June 2017 and included in the report on the Corridor Work Plan, update of which is due to be provided in 2017.

Assembly Meets Advisory Board

On 24 November, the EGTC Assembly and the Advisory Board met in Antwerp. The Advisory Board is open for organisations and personalities from economy, science or national governmental organizations as well as relevant Corridor stakeholders and associations, groupings or confederations.

The Advisory Board is created in order to bring external input in the discussions and the policy of the EGTC. Exchange of information and experiences is an added value for our new organisation.

„Europäische Verkehrspolitik bis 2050 – Aktuelle Herausforderungen und regionale Lösungsansätze“ am 24. Mai 2016 in Brüssel

Bereits im Jahr 2011 legte die Europäische Kommission mit dem Weißbuch Verkehr einen ehrgeizigen Fahrplan für die Zukunft des Verkehrs bis 2050 vor. Ziel europäischer Verkehrspolitik ist die Schaffung eines einheitlichen europäischen Verkehrsraums mit mehr Wettbewerb und einem vollständig integrierten Verkehrsnetz, das die verschiedenen Verkehrsträger miteinander verknüpft und grundlegende Veränderungen der Personen- und Güterverkehrsmuster ermöglicht. Bis 2050 stehen u. a. die Senkung der verkehrsbedingten Emissionen, eine verstärkte Verlagerung des Personen- und Güterverkehrs auf die Schiene und die stärkere Nutzung erneuerbarer Energieträger im Verkehr im Fokus.

Birgit Simon, Erste Beigeordnete des Regionalverbands FrankfurtRheinMain, hat eine klare Vision für den Verkehr 2050 in FrankfurtRheinMain. „Radschnellwege, geräuschloser Schienenverkehr, automatisierter Straßenverkehr und vor allem entspannte Fußgänger“ sieht die Erste Beigeordnete zukünftig auf unseren Straßen. Da der Fahrplan zum Weißbuch Verkehr derzeit überprüft wird und Anpassungen der Verkehrspolitik bevorstehen können, diskutierten am 24. Mai 2016 in Brüssel Vertreter aus Politik, den Europäischen Institutionen und Projektumsetzer, ob Europa auf dem richtigen Weg ist und wohin sich die Verkehrspolitik in Europa bis 2050 entwickeln soll. An der Diskussion beteiligten sich zudem die über 170 Teilnehmer aus den Regionen, Städten und Wirtschaftsverbänden sowie aus den Europäischen Institutionen, die der Einladung des Europabüros der Metropolregion FrankfurtRheinMain und der Vertretung des Landes Hessen bei der EU gefolgt waren.

In einer Podiumsdiskussion tauschten sich folgende Akteure unter der Moderation Herrn Balsens (Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung) zum Weißbuch Verkehr aus: Angelo Tedde (Vertretung der Vereinigung der italienischen Handelskammern in Brüssel), Dr. Rolf Diemer (Generaldirektion Mobilität und Verkehr, Europäische Kommission), Birgit Simon (Erste Beigeordnete des Regionalverbands FrankfurtRheinMain und stellvertretende Vorsitzende der Interregionalen Allianz für den Rhein-Alpen Korridor EVTZ),) Ismail Ertug (Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments).

Weitere Informationen können Sie der ausführlichen Dokumentation der Veranstaltung entnehmen:

  • Dokumentation „Europäische Verkehrspolitik bis 2050 – Aktuelle Herausforderungen und regionale Lösungsansätze“ [PDF: 692 KB]

Informationen zum Programm finden Sie zudem in der Einladung:

  • Einladung Europäische Verkehrspolitik bis 2050 – Aktuelle Herausforderungen und regionale Lösungsansätze [PDF: 84 KB]