Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Row Hots Up on EU Rail Integration

Arguments Polarise over Freight & Passenger Single System
Shipping News Feature

UK – Arguments are forming about both sides of the EU rail integration plans which would mean a single market with all equipment standardised to enable free transit throughout the entire community.

In a letter to the “Daily Telegraph” published today Lord Tony Berkeley, writing on behalf of the European Rail Freight Association and Chairman of the Rail Freight Group, points out that rail is now suffering the hindrances of different management systems, licences and registrations in what is supposedly a free market, whereas road operators are entitled to ply their trade freely wherever they wish within the EU belt.

Although many would argue that there are still problems with regard to free transit by road through many of the relevant countries there is no doubt a much more confused and confining picture as regards transit by rail.

The anti EU camp are using the possible enforcement of European directives as an argument for Britain quitting the collective, whereas the rail lobby are keen to smooth the path for what is generally viewed as a cleaner alternative to continued expansion of road traffic.