Rail Freight Forward Coalition – from COP24 to COP25

RFF and the Noah’s Train campaign connect two UN climate conferences.

National and international climate protection measures are gaining momentum with RFF.

What started in December 2018 at COP24 with two containers in Katowice, Poland, has turned into a strong European movement. Rail Freight Forward (RFF), a coalition of European rail freight companies, has set itself the goal of drastically reducing the negative impact of freight transport on our planet. The Noah’s Train campaign has been spreading the RFF message for almost a year now: Europe must increase rail freight’s modal share to 30% in order to improve the climate, air quality and mobility. The issue will now be discussed at COP25, the 2019 UN Climate Change Conference.

The vision: climate-friendly freight transport

Rail Freight Forward is a trans-European initiative that aims to communicate to the European public that rail freight transport is an essential response to the challenges of climate change. The transport sector is one of the biggest sources of CO2 pollution and the greenhouse effect. Shifting freight transport to the rails is the quickest and most direct way of combating ever-increasing CO2 emissions and pollution. There is still a lot to be done to make this modal shift happen: we need fair competition conditions between rail and road, tax relief for traction services, and up-to-date toll regulations for road transport that are valid across all of Europe. Why? Because the aim is to harmonise procedures and regulations at EU level and to reduce the number of interfaces at national borders. These measures should increase rail’s competitiveness vis-à-vis road transport. It must become as easy to drive a train across Europe as it is to drive a truck through Europe. Only by increasing the modal split will we achieve the climate protection goals established in the 2016 Paris Agreement.

Rail Freight Forward and Noah’s Train: one year on

Rail Freight Forward has already achieved a great deal in the space of just one year. The RFF coalition’s climate ambassador is Noah’s Train, which is comprised of a total of 19 containers beautifully spray-painted with animals by international street artists. With 16 stops on its journey across Europe, it has been spreading the message of ‘30 by 2030’ since COP24 last December. Measuring over 200 metres in length, Noah’s Train is the world’s longest mobile artwork. It has brought the RFF message to more than one million European citizens, and its number of followers and supporters is constantly increasing. Ten more railway undertakings have joined the coalition over the course of the year – the movement is growing and momentum is building to help protect our climate by shifting more freight transport from the road to the eco-friendly railways.

Progress in Austria

For the first time ever, companies in the highly competitive European rail freight transport market are working together on one vision, and Austria is very actively involved. It is clear that the modal shift can only be achieved if everyone works together. Not only the Rail Cargo Group, but also the LTE group and Ost-West Logistik Netzwerk are part of this European coalition. The joint work programme has given the Rail Cargo Group the perfect opportunity to make significant service enhancements for its rail freight transport customers. These include the likes of expanding multilateral connections in Central Asia, handing over the first TransANT set to logserv (a subsidiary of voestalpine), expanding the Rolling Road as part of the 10-point plan for transalpine transit traffic, and improving connections to Scandinavia for RCG’s freight transport customers.

Find out more about Rail Freight Forward