ECORailS Summary

EU project for enhanced energy-efficiency of regional rail passenger services

Regional rail transport for passengers possesses inherent advantages in terms of energy efficiency and environmental performance. However, rail transport has not yet realised all its potentials. In the light of increasing prices of energy and growing environmental problems these potentials should be realised.

The project ECORailS addresses the improvement of energy efficiency and the further reduction of the environmental impact of railways. The target groups are regional Public Transport Administrations (PTAs) which play a key role today when it comes to improving the quality and environmental performance of passenger rail transport. Tendering, other types of awarding procedures, and Public Service Contracts (PSC) are good instruments for enhancing the environmental and energy performance of rail services. ECORailS will provide Guidelines for the PTAs in order to successfully include environmental criteria in their awarding procedures. The ECORailS project aims to reduce the specific energy consumption of European regional passenger rail transport by 15 % by 2020.

Project duration: May 2009 - June 2011

Legally compliant and practical Guidelines for PTAs

The main purpose of the project is to jointly compile Guidelines which enable Public Transport Administrations (PTAs) to set realistic environmental criteria for contracting regional rail passenger services or procuring rolling stock, with the focus on energy efficiency. Decision makers within European regional PTAs will be supported by these Guidelines on every step on the way to include environmental criteria into their awarding procedures and service contracts.

The Guidelines need to comply with European awarding legislation in order to maximise their impact on overall awarding practices.

The document will show how to create awarding text modules compliant with European law, usable by PTAs for regional awarding in all EU member states. The information provided by the Guidelines will apply to all established awarding procedures for services and rolling stock and include criteria for the evaluation of energy consumption.

A catalogue containing information on cutting-edge technology along with details on particularly promising technologies and operational measures will also be available. technology along with details on particularly promising technologies and operational measures will also be available.

Practical tests in four countries

A draft version of the ECORailS Guidelines is tested at four European test sites: in Copenhagen/Øresund (Denmark), Berlin-Brandenburg (Germany), Timisoara (Romania) and in Lombardy (Italy). PTAs from these regions are partners of the project. The experiences from the test applications will be incorporated in the final version in order to ensure its suitability in daily use. Both electric and diesel operations are covered by the tests.

The ECORailS-Test Sites:

  • Berlin-Brandenburg (Germany): Urban catchment with suburban and rural connections
  • Lombardy (Italy):
    Agglomeration of rural and suburban lines
  • Copenhagen/Øresund (Denmark): Important European cross-border connection
  • Timisoara (Romania):
    Regional transport in a new EU member state - both city catchment and network of cities, towns and rural areas; connected to the fourth Pan-European Corridor

Efficiency standards for a sustainable Europe

ECORailS contributes to the implementation of European sustainability policies, norms and programmes, and the Lisbon Strategy in particular. The project facilitates the setting of energy efficiency standards for a growing European railway market.

Synergy for European Railways

Besides its own research activities, ECORailS will use the results of previous and currently ongoing technological projects like EVENT, PROSPER and Railenergy in order to enable and encourage the European PTAs to profit from already available results.

ECORailS is cooperating with all involved interest groups: PTAs, train operating companies and manufacturers. The consortium will host several feedback events in order to meet administrative expectations and requirements.

ECORailS' specific objectives

Quantitative energy and CO2 emission savings:

  • 5 % in comparison to current awarding
  • 10 % with regard to the currently used rolling stock
  • In the long term: System-wide improvement of energy efficiency for regional railway by 15 % by 2020

Photo: Ante Klečina