How many kilometers of railway does Romania have to modernize?

Romania has to modernize over a thousand kilometers of railway infrastructure, while Poland, with a length of railway routes not much longer than Romania, has managed to rehabilitate more than 1,500 kilometers with European funds, in a single European budget year, according to the report “Let’s take the train. The rebirth of train travel in a European Romania ”, made by the 2Celsius Association, within the Europe on Rail project.

According to the document, presented in an online workshop on Friday, the railway is the most efficient mode of transport today and contributes only 1.5% of the European Union’s CO2 emissions from the transport sector, with a market share of 8.5%.

“To put the data in context, 27% of total EU-28 greenhouse gas emissions came from the transport sector, according to the European Environment Agency (2019). Due to electric trains powered by renewable energy, it is possible to provide almost zero carbon travel and transportation. But it’s not just about CO2 emissions. The negative externalities (negative effects that are not internalized in the price paid by the user, such as air pollution, but also accidents or congestion) of rail transport represent only 2% of the external cost of transport in Europe “, notes the report’s author, Raul Cazan, president 2Celsius Association, quoted by AGERPRES.

According to the quoted source, a study conducted by the European Commission in March 2018 mentioned that of the 365 existing transnational connections in Europe, less than half (49%) were functional for passenger transport.

Regarding the current situation in Romania, the specialized report reveals that our country has to modernize over a thousand kilometers of railway infrastructure. At the same time, Poland, with a length of railway infrastructure not much longer than that of Romania, rehabilitated over 1,500 kilometers with European funds, in a single European budget year.

“The infrastructure development strategy will have to target the lines with the highest potential for use, but with the most restrictions. Hundreds of kilometers of railways are affected annually by restrictions, so any other programs for the development of our railway system fall into the background as long as the restrictions are not exceeded and the infrastructure is not completely rehabilitated “, the specialists note.

2Celsius experts say the EU can offer preferential green transport loans through the European Investment Bank (EIB) to domestic operators as well as new investors.

“For regional and some national operations, the rolling stock is sometimes owned and leased by the national government (awarding authority) or a government-owned company. The EIB has launched the Green Railway Investment Platform – a new initiative to support public and private investment in railway projects. To accelerate the implementation of railway investments, the new platform provides EIB lending, combining and consulting services and EU financial instruments available under InvestEU. It is available to all railway operators, infrastructure managers, transport authorities and other interested parties. The Green Rail Investment Platform aims to address the specific needs of the market, explore new business models and stimulate opportunities to finance innovation and climate action in rail transport. At the same time, cross-border trains must be able to be included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans “, the profile organization claims.

2Celsius, a non-governmental organization established in 2010 to influence national and European climate change policies, is a member of the European Environmental Bureau, the Climate Action Network Europe and the European Environment and Transport Federation (T&E).

Europe on Rail means a network of NGOs from Poland, Germany, France, Spain and Romania, which aims to support a revitalization of the railway in Europe and to come up with measures to strengthen the primacy of rail travel in international passenger transport.