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19 September 2018 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 01:02 GMT+2



June 28, 2018

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A relationship of the European State Audit Court denunciation the failure and the inefficiency of the realization of the railway net EU to high speed

"An authentic European railway net to high speed does not exist - the document explains -: a mosaic of national lines to high speed exists only"

A new special report of the European State Audit Court on the railway net to high speed of the EU represents rapes blow on the head of which they support the necessity to realize this railway Network and is a powerful support of the theses of which they consider preferable modernize and upgrade the conventional railway net rather than to construct a net for the high superfluous and expensive considered speed.

The relationship concludes in fact that it is improbable that the current one slowly in the long term of the EU for the railway lines to high speed is realized and that lacks a solid strategic approach at the level of the EU. According to the Court, "the objective of the EU commission to triple the length of the railway net to high speed, reaching beyond 30.000 kilometers in 2030, is not supported by a reliable analysis. We consider improbable - law in the document - than this objective can be reached, because us they want about 16 years in order to plan, to construct and to start railway infrastructures to high speed. At the end of the 2017 they were in single function 9,000 kilometers of high-speed lines, with others 1,700 kilometers under construction".

Moreover, to judgment of the Court, the railway net to high speed of the EU is only a disomogeneo system of national lines without a coordination adapted to transboundary level, planned and constructed from the Member States in isolated way, from which they turn out unsatisfactory connections, and the EU commission does not have legal instruments neither of decisional powers in order to guarantee that the Member States progress quickly towards the completion of the central net.

"An authentic European railway net to high speed does not exist - the document emphasizes -: a mosaic of national lines to high speed exists only. The Commission does not have the power to decide if and when the high-speed lines specified in Regolamento TRY would have to be constructed, since the relative decisions to the construction of railway lines to high speed are of exclusive competence of the Member States. To complete the transnational corridors of the EU being connected the national nets is not a priority for the which examined Member States. Although meanwhile a mechanism of financing of the EU (Regolamento CEF is adopted) and although various Member States have signed several international agreements, the work for the crosswalk of the frontiers of the railway lines to high speed is not completed in co-ordinate way. This involves a low added value of the co-financing of the EU destined to the investments in railway infrastructures to high speed in the Member States".

"A disomogeneo and ineffective system of national nets to high speed badly connected between it is constructed - Oskar Herics has explained, the member of the European State Audit Court in charge of the relation -. The high-speed lines that cross national frontiers do not re-enter between the national priorities in terms of construction and the Commission does not have the faculty to impose of the realization. This means that the added value of the co-financing of the EU is modest".

The document of the European State Audit Court remembers that from 2000 the EU has co-financed investments in the railway lines to high speed for 23,7 billion euros. In order to collect given useful to the drawing up of the relationship, the auditor of the Court have gone in six Member States (France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Austria) and have analyzed the expense carried out for beyond 5.000 kilometers of high-speed lines, covering about 50% of entire railway net AV of the EU, and have found that, although the length of national nets AV is increasing, the objective established from the EU to triple the length of the railway lines to high speed (until 30 000 km) within 2030 will not be reached.

The relationship evidences that the railway infrastructure to high speed is expensive: for the lines subordinates to audit, the average cost of a kilometer is of 25 million euros. For four of the ten lines, every minute of saved time of distance will cost more than 100 million euros. The elevated figure more regards the Stoccarda-Monk line, that 369 million euros for every saved minute will cost.

The relationship emphasizes that if the solution were instead considered seriously alternative to upgrade the existing conventional lines, billions of euro could be saved. "The quality of the appraisal of the real necessities of the Member States - the document specifies - is insufficient and the solution alternative to requalify the existing conventional lines is often not held in debita consideration, even if the achieved savings using this option can be meaningful. The decision to construct high-speed lines - denunciation the relationship - often is based on political considerations and the cost analyses are not used generally as instrument in order to support a decisional process based on the relationship cost-efficiency".

To such purpose the relationship mentions good practical adopted in Italy and Germany, and not used in the other States visited from the inspectors of the European State Audit Court, based on which a re-examination of the projects is put into effect in order to verify that their characteristics still satisfy the requirements current. The document for example takes to the review of the project for the Venice-Trieste line, comparing the construction of a new high-speed line (300 km/h) that it would involve a cost of 7,5 billion euros in order to realize a draft that would be covered in 55 minutes with the alternative modernization and potenziamento of the conventional railway line, of the cost of 1,8 billion euros, that it would afford 200 speeds of km/h and a time of distance of 65 minutes. The analysis concludes that with the requalification of the conventional line euros would be saved 5,7 billion only adding 10 minutes of travel, that is a saving of 570 million euros for every additional minute of the time of distance.

Moreover the relationship rimarca that in the realization of the railway lines to high speed the sforamenti of costs and the delays constitutes a rule rather than the exception. The precise document that, being the co-financing subject to a maximal one, the sforamenti of cost for the investments in the high-speed lines do not affect the budget of the EU but is supported by the national budgets. In particular, the examined sforamenti of the costs aggregates for the projects and lines are piled to 5,7 billion euros at the level of project (44%) and to 25,1 billion euros at the level of line (78%). Eight of the thirty examined projects recorded delays at least a year, while five lines on ten recorded advanced delays to ten years.

The relationship examines also the success of the investments online railway to high speed basing the analysis on the number of transported passengers and the number of people who live in the basin of long user the line. The auditor they consider that, based on the parameters of reference, for being considered a success a line of this type it would have to transport, ideally, nine million passengers per year. On three of the seven high-speed lines completed and subordinates to audit, the number of transported passengers clearly inferior era but. The risk that the co-financing EU of 2,7 billion euros in favor of these lines is used in ineffective way - explains the relationship - therefore it is elevated. Moreover, for nine of the 14 transboundary lines and connections subordinates to audit, the number of potential passengers in the respective basins of user sufficiently was not elevated to decree of the success.

The relationship, moreover, remembers that in the 2010 Court it had already asked a urgent participation in order to remove the technical barriers, administrative and of other type that the railway interoperability hindered and emphasizes that however it has been stated that in the 2018 these barriers they still exist, preventing competitive an operation really lacking in interruptions and of the high-speed lines to transboundary level in the EU. The specific document also that if the market of the rail shipment of passengers still is not opened in France and Spain, however in Italy and, in limited measure, in Austria, where there is competition between railway operators, the services turned out more frequent superior in quality and, while the prices of tickets were inferior.

In conclusion the European State Audit Court recommends to the EU commission to proceed to a realistic planning in the long term and to agree with the Member States fundamental the drafts strategic to put into effect for first, estimating the necessity of lines to highest speed and previewing a careful monitoring and powers executives in order to guarantee the respect of the engagements with regard to the completion of the central railway net to high speed of the EU. Moreover the Court invites the Commission to subordinate the co-financing EU to specific strategic priority projects, an effective competition between railway operators and to the attainment of results, and to simplify the transboundary procedures of contest, to use “only doors” for the several formalities and to eliminate all the remaining administrative and normative barriers that hinder the interoperability. Moreover it proposes to improve the operation without interruptions of the railway line to high speed for the passengers through, for example, the emission of electronic tickets and the simplification of the canons of access to the railway lines.

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