Consultation document of the Commission's Services - Rail noise abatement measures addressing the existing fleet
Sector representatives are pleased by the activity of the DG TREN since they support lowering of environmental impacts of transport system, including those of rail vehicles.
It is worth to mention that railways already procure new vehicles with composite brake blocks and bear the risk on their own account.
The cost efficiency of freight rail transport is one of the key issues and any one sided additional financial burden imposed to rail sector will affect its competitiveness and result in a potential modal shift from rail to road with an adverse effect on the environment which would be inconsistent with the EU’s transport and environmental policy objectives.
The retrofit process shall not create any new charges for wagon owners and consequently for their clients, in order to prevent any additional financial burden on the railway freight transportation market.
Our policy suggestion would be:
- to favour European and national subsidies for the short term retrofitting, providing those national subsidies do not distort competition between rail freight operators. A part of the financial means could be transferred from infrastructure measures, provided the overall effects for infrastructure managers in terms of costs and benefits are neutral. Differential track access charges could be used at a later date to maintain a silent freight fleet, however not before the end of the migration phase.
- not to impose legally binding measures on freight operators, especially since the type and cost of solutions vary considerably depending on the wagon-fleet considered and since important technological issues remain unsolved, Freight wagon owners shall be free to make the choice of technology for retrofitting.
More generally sector representatives consider a global cost-analysis should be performed taking into consideration the overall social efficiency of these measures, including their externalities and potential adverse effects on the modal shift between rail and road.