Commission approves €200 million of public support to promote rail transport interoperability in Germany

| January 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By EU Reporter Correspondent

The European Commission has approved, under EU state aid rules, €200 million of public support to upgrade traffic management equipment for rail vehicles in the area of Stuttgart in Germany. The scheme consists of two measures. The first measure will support the furnishing of railway vehicles with the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) onboard equipment. The second measure will support the furnishing of those same vehicles with automatic train operation (ATO). ATO is an operational safety enhancement device used to help automate the operation of trains.

The scheme allows to equip the vehicles with both ERTMS and ATO. ERTMS is a safety system that ensures the compliance by trains with speed restrictions and signalling‑ status. This system is expected to enable the creation of a seamless European railway system, and increase the safety and competitiveness of the European rail sector. The two measures supporting the rail freight sector will ensure increased public support to further encourage the shift of freight traffic from road to rail.

The public support will take the form of direct grants to the owners or operators of railway vehicles, to be used for upgrading the existing equipment. The measure will run until 2025. The Commission found that the German measure is beneficial for the environment and for mobility as it supports rail transport, which is less polluting than road transport, while also decreasing road congestion. Furthermore, the measure is proportionate and necessary as it promotes interoperability of railway systems in the EU and supports the shift of freight transport from road to rail whilst not leading to undue competition distortions.

Finally, the aid will have an “incentive effectâ€� as the owners or operators of railway vehicles would not perform the necessary upgrade of their rolling stock in the absence of the public support. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the measures are in line with EU state aid rules, in particular the 2008 Commission Guidelines on State aid for railway undertakings. More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under case number SA.58908 once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Source:: EU Reporter Feed

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