The station manager’s whistle. Stunning views from your window. The thrill of boarding a night train and waking up in a new city. We’ve all had memorable train journeys—but rail is about more than our cultural heritage and collective imagination. It’s also one of the greenest modes of transport around. Sustainable, innovative, affordable and safe for both people and goods, rail is vital to achieving the 2050 climate-neutrality target set in the European Green Deal1.
The future is rail
Making rail the go-to solution
On 29 March 2021, the European Council and the European Commission kicked off the European Year of Rail to inspire Europeans—and particularly young people—to choose rail. Approved by the European Parliament on 15 December 2020, this celebration aims to encourage both passengers and businesses to make rail their first choice. The calendar of events focuses on these key issues:
- cutting CO2 emissions
- passenger rights
- rail’s crucial role in keeping economies moving in a crisis
- the job categories and skillsets that give rail its unique appeal
- overnight trains
- railways’ historical and cultural significance
SNCF’s calendar of events
The timing couldn’t be better. In 2021, we’re celebrating the 40th anniversary of our high-speed TGV trains, the 50th anniversary of the Cité du Train railway museum and the 25th anniversary of our Thalys international service. The year also marks the inauguration of the Salle des Fresques shopping gallery in Paris-Lyon station, as well as completion of a number of EU-funded network upgrades.
For all these reasons, SNCF Group was delighted to accept the European Commission’s call for infrastructure managers and rail companies to organize events for the European Year of Rail. It’s a perfect opportunity to showcase European engineering expertise and the power of rail to connect people, regions, and businesses across the continent.
It’s no coincidence that the European Year of Rail is 2021. It’s the first year of full implementation for the Fourth Railway Package, an EU legislative measure that breaks down institutional, legal and technical barriers to create a single, integrated European rail area and spur economic growth.
1 The European Green Deal provides an action plan to restore biodiversity, cut pollution and use resources more efficiently by moving to a clean, circular economy.
The plan outlines the necessary investments, highlights available financing tools, and shows how to make the energy transition just and inclusive. The EU aims to be climate neutral in 2050.