On 24 May 2023, the European Rail Supply Industry (UNIFE) and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) have published a press release regarding the conclusion and outcome of the negotiations of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR), which now includes rail under its scope, a key missing element not foreseen in the European Commission’s proposal. UNIFE and CER trust that this will encourage Member States to consider the roll-out of alternative fuels infrastructure on the rail network and thus, further contribute to the achievement of the EU Green Deal objectives.
Background: rail accounts for less than 0.5% of transport-related greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through direct usage (diesel) and is the only transport mode to both steadily improve its energy efficiency while increasing capacities. Already today 80% of train-kilometres run on electric energy, a growing portion of which comes from renewable sources, even though only 54% of the European rail network is currently electrified. Considering the relatively longer life cycle of the rail system – for example, several decades for rail rolling stock, decarbonisation measures complementary to electrification would be helpful. These would support the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructures for rail and would be aligned with the 2050 EU goal of climate neutrality.