In a time when the mobility of people and freight is at its highest, the world has entered an era of climate uncertainty. In this context, each of us has a responsibility and should try to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the environment.
Have you ever wondered which are the most environmentally-friendly ways to travel? Electric trains come third after walking and cycling, leaving travel by car and by plane far behind.
Romania has one of the largest railway networks in the European Union, but the network needs an upgrade. The average travelling speed on Romanian railways is 45-50 km/h, not even half of the European average. In fact, on certain routes the travelling time is similar to in the 1930s.
Modernisation of the “Simeria-km 614”railway section of the Rhine-Danube TEN-T Rail Corridor
The modernisation of 144 km of railway in western Romania, part of the Rhine-Danube corridor, is the largest transport infrastructure project implemented by the Romanian government in the last 30 years, with a value of over €2 billion. Besides the technical complexities of such a project, implementing the contract and securing the financing were also challenging issues for the Romanian government.
The Romanian authorities initially had difficulties in securing EU funding unless the project was updated to meet the European Commission’s financing requirements, including climate risk and vulnerability assessment. With the support of the EIB experts working under the PASSA initiative, the feasibility study was successfully updated to comply with these requirements and in 2017, the European Commission approved the €2 billion EU financing package. The EIB is also co-financing the project through a framework loan for the entire Large Infrastructure Operational Programme of Romania.
The EIB’s PASSA will continue to support the Romanian authorities in dealing with implementation issues until the end of the project.
Once the project is completed, passenger trains will run at a maximum speed of 160 km/h and freight trains will travel at a maximum of 120 km/h. The modernised railway section will also benefit from a traffic management system, improving safety.
The project will provide not only increased safety, comfort and travelling times for passengers, it will also have a major impact on the environment by reducing CO2 emissions by an anticipated 1.5 million tonnes over its expected 30-year lifespan.