History of the Initiative

Following more than a decade of fruitful cooperation with the EU in rail R&D, the Shift2Rail journey started in 2009, when key European rail sector players, under the coordination of the Association of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE), began investigating a policy instrument that could facilitate a step change for the European rail system. The results were then presented to the European Commission.

The companies supporting Shift2Rail underlined that maintaining the status quo for rail research in Europe was not an option. European leadership of the global rail market could only be maintained if a critical mass from committed EU industry joined forces to develop innovative, high-capacity and high-quality products.

Capitalising on the rail sector’s success in EU-funded collaborative research projects since the mid 1990s, Shift2Rail constituted a natural evolution from EU industrial research cooperation in Horizon 2020. It was also clear that realising the ambitious EU transport policy and climate change goals required a massive coordinated investment in rail research.

S2R Train
  • 2011

    • Jan/Dec

      The European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) ETP and the whole sector collaborate on the creation of Rail Route 2050, the initial vision for 2050, supporting Shift2Rail.
  • 2012

    • Jan/Dec

      The European Commission assigns a working team (DG R&I and DG MOVE) to provide guidance to the promoters and draft an Impact Assessment.
    • July

      The promoters (including all the founding members of Shift2Rail) of this preparation phase sign a dedicated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and submit the Shift2Rail proposal to the European Commission.
  • 2013

    • January

      DG Mobility and Transport (MOVE) publishes the communication The Fourth Railway Package, which gives Shift2Rail a key role in developing rail as a transport mode.

      The promoters respond to European Commission feedback with an Addendum to the Shift2Rail Proposal.

    • May

      Commissioners S. Kallas and M. Geoghegan-Quinn provide support for promoters, to make Shift2Rail a reality.
    • June

      The Directorate-General (DG) for Enterprise and Industry publishes its study on the railway supply industry’s competitiveness, supporting continued R&D and advocating a JTI/PPP scheme.
    • July

      The European Commission begins the internal Impact Assessment and launches the Public Consultation.
    • December

      The European Commission puts a proposal to the Council and the European Parliament for a regulation to create the Shift2Rail JU.

      The promoters submit the Technical Programme for the preparatory phase of Shift2Rail to the European Commission.

  • 2014

    • February

      The Hellenic Presidency declares Shift2Rail a priority of its transport programme.
    • March

      The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopts a positive stance on the Shift2Rail Regulation.
    • April

      The European Parliament Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee’s positive stance on Shift2Rail is adopted during the last plenary session in Strasbourg.
    • June

      16: Adoption of Council Regulation No 642/2014.

      Formal adoption of the Shift2Rail Regulation by the EU Transport Council, with a total budget of EUR 920 million.

    • July

      30: Formal establishment of the Governing Board of the Shift2Rail JU.

      7-9: Formal establishment of Shift2Rail JU and nomination of the Interim Executive Director.

      7: Shift2Rail is established, following the entry into force of Council Regulation (EU) No 642/2014 of 16 June 2014 establishing the Shift2Rail JU

    • October

      Formal establishment of the States Representatives Group.
  • 2015

    • February

      Endorsement of the Shift2Rail Master Plan by the Council.
    • May

      Formal establishment of the Scientific Committee.

      Launch of Shift2Rail ‘lighthouse’ projects.

    • November

      Adoption of the Shift2Rail Multi-Annual Action Plan.
    • December

      17: Publication of the first calls for activities launched by the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (JU) on the H2020 participant portal and the Shift2Rail website.

      11: Selection of 19 associated members and signature of membership agreements

  • 2016

    • January

      Formal establishment of the Innovation Programme (IP) Steering Committees.
  • 25-27 January 2016: Formal establishment of the Innovation Programme (IP) Steering Committees.
  • 17 December 2015: Publication of the first calls for activities launched by the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (JU) on the H2020 participant portal and the Shift2Rail website.
  • 11 December 2015: Selection of 19 associated members and signature of membership agreements.
  • 27 November 2015: Adoption of the Shift2Rail Multi-Annual Action Plan.
  • 28 May 2015: Formal establishment of the Scientific Committee.
  • 1 May 2015: Launch of Shift2Rail ‘lighthouse’ projects.
  • 10 February 2015: Endorsement of the Shift2Rail Master Plan by the Council.
  • 21 October 2014: Formal establishment of the States Representatives Group.
  • 30 July 2014: Formal establishment of the Governing Board of the Shift2Rail JU.
  • 7-9 July 2014: Formal establishment of Shift2Rail JU and nomination of the Interim Executive Director.
  • 7 July 2014: Shift2Rail is established, following the entry into force of Council Regulation (EU) No 642/2014 of 16 June 2014 establishing the Shift2Rail JU.
  • 16 June 2014: Adoption of Council Regulation No 642/2014.
  • June 2014: Formal adoption of the Shift2Rail Regulation by the EU Transport Council, with a total budget of EUR 920 million.
  • April 2014: The European Parliament Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee’s positive stance on Shift2Rail is adopted during the last plenary session in Strasbourg.
  • March 2014: The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopts a positive stance on the Shift2Rail Regulation.
  • February 2014: The Hellenic Presidency declares Shift2Rail a priority of its transport programme.
  • December 2013: The European Commission puts a proposal to the Council and the European Parliament for a regulation to create the Shift2Rail JU.
  • December 2013: The promoters submit the Technical Programme for the preparatory phase of Shift2Rail to the European Commission.
  • July 2013: The European Commission begins the internal Impact Assessment and launches the Public Consultation.
  • June 2013: The Directorate-General (DG) for Enterprise and Industry publishes its study on the railway supply industry’s competitiveness, supporting continued R&D and advocating a JTI/PPP scheme.
  • May 2013: Commissioners S. Kallas and M. Geoghegan-Quinn provide support for promoters, to make Shift2Rail a reality.
  • January 2013: DG Mobility and Transport (MOVE) publishes the communication The Fourth Railway Package, which gives Shift2Rail a key role in developing rail as a transport mode.
  • January 2013: The promoters respond to European Commission feedback with an Addendum to the Shift2Rail Proposal.
  • July 2012: The promoters (including all the founding members of Shift2Rail) of this preparation phase sign a dedicated Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and submit the Shift2Rail proposal to the European Commission.
  • 2012: The European Commission assigns a working team (DG R&I and DG MOVE) to provide guidance to the promoters and draft an Impact Assessment.
  • 2011: The European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) ETP and the whole sector collaborate on the creation of Rail Route 2050, the initial vision for 2050, supporting Shift2Rail.

Sector-wide involvement in an intensive awareness campaign across Europe, and throughout the entire preparation phase

Under the coordination of UNIFE, interested players (not only from the entire rail supply chain, but also those with wider sector expertise) joined the preparation phase on a voluntary basis, and helped build the strong foundation of this public-private partnership.

  • 25 major rail stakeholders were signatories of the Shift2Rail MoU for the preparatory phase, committing to long-term investment in the future of European rail research.
  • More than 60 additional companies – industrial partners, railway undertakings, urban operators and infrastructure managers — joined the initiative, bringing in their expertise under the framework of the technical preparatory phase.
  • Finally, more than 45 universities and research centres also actively participated in the preparatory phase. Their participation was extremely important, since a significant part of the Shift2Rail budget is to be managed through open calls for proposals that encourage the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research organisations. These organisations will have the opportunity to collaborate with the participating companies that are best placed to facilitate the take-up of results.

In order to generate such interest in the initiative and ensure active participation before any funding was made available, the promoters organised many meetings at both EU and national levels (with the support of the respective Member State ministers). A historical (albeit non-comprehensive) snapshot is shown below.

history_initiative_map

July 2014

  • EU: Shift2Rail launched alongside other H2020 JTIs/JUs at the European Commission’s launch event in Brussels by M. Barroso, President of the European Commission, together with Commissioners S. Kallas and M. Geoghegan-Quinn.
  • ESTONIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Tallinn for Estonian stakeholders.
  • NETHERLANDS: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in The Hague for Dutch stakeholders.

June 2014

  • EU: European Commission Stakeholder Meeting on the Shift2Rail Strategic Master Plan.
  • ROMANIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Bucharest for Romanian stakeholders.
  • BULGARIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Sofia for Bulgarian stakeholders.

May 2014

  • SWISS: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Zürich for Swiss freight stakeholders.
  • SWEDEN: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Stockholm for Swedish stakeholders.

April 2014

  • EU: Shift2Rail presented at UNIFE stand in the Transport Research Arena.
  • LUXEMBOURG: Shift2Rail presented at the Luxembourg National Agency for Innovation.

February 2014

  • GREECE: Shift2Rail conference organised in Athens by the Hellenic Presidency of the EU.
  • BELGIUM: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Brussels for Belgian stakeholders.
  • CROATIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Zagreb for Croatian stakeholders.
  • FINLAND: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Helsinki for Finnish stakeholders.

January 2014

  • FRANCE: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Paris for French stakeholders.

December 2013

  • EU: Shift2Rail progress report at ERRAC plenary.
  • ESTONIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Tallinn for Estonian stakeholders.
  • SLOVENIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Ljubljana for Slovenian stakeholders.
  • IRELAND: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Dublin for Irish stakeholders.

November 2013

  • EU: Shift2Rail progress report at ERRAC plenary.
  • ROMANIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Bucharest for Romanian stakeholders.

October 2013

  • SLOVAKIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Bratislava for Slovak stakeholders.
  • ROMANIA: Presentation of Shift2Rail at the Railway Days in Bucharest.
  • ITALY: Assifer/Anie workshop on Shift2Rail in Milan.

September 2013

  • EU: European Commission Stakeholder Hearing on Public Consultation.
  • EU: European Parliament information session on Shift2Rail organised by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
  • POLAND: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Warsaw for Polish stakeholders.
  • POLAND: Presentation of Shift2Rail at the TRAKO international fair in Gdansk.

July 2013

  • UNITED KINGDOM: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in London for British stakeholders.
  • PORTUGAL: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Lisbon for Portuguese stakeholders.

June 2013

  • NETHERLANDS: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in the Ministry in The Hague with Dutch stakeholders.
  • FRANCE: Presentation of Shift2Rail at the Conseil Régional des Pays de la Loire for regional stakeholders (Nantes).
  • SPAIN: Presentation of Shift2Rail at SIL 2013 in Barcelona.

May 2013

  • INTERNATIONAL: Workshop in the Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC) Paris, France on Shift2Rail.
  • SPAIN: Presentation of Shift2Rail at the Annual Assembly of the Spanish Railways Technological Platform in Madrid.
  • AUSTRIA: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Vienna for Austrian stakeholders.
  • GERMANY: Presentation of Shift2Rail at the European Railway Cluster Initiative (ERCI) European conference in Leipzig.

April 2013

  • EU: Shift2Rail progress report at ERRAC plenary.
  • POLAND: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Warsaw for Polish stakeholders.

March 2013

  • EU: Shift2Rail presentation at the Promotion du Grand Axe Ferroviaire de Marchandises Scandinavie-Rhin-Rhône-Méditerranée Occidentale (FERRMED) annual conference in the European Parliament.
  • ITALY: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Milan for Italian stakeholders.
  • CZECH REPUBLIC: Presentation of Shift2Rail at the International Rail Freight conference in Prague.

February 2013

  • EU: Discussion on Shift2Rail at the European Railway awards and announcement of Commissioner S. Kallas that work is continuing for delivery of a key industry-Commission JU.
  • EU: Rail Forum Europe meeting organised under the sponsorship of MEP Brian Simpson, Chair of the Transport and Tourism Committee, at the European Parliament on Shift2Rail.
  • SPAIN: Workshop on Shift2Rail organised in Madrid for Spanish stakeholders.

December 2012

  • FRANCE: Shift2Rail presented to Representatives of all the French Regions in Paris (Association des Régions de France).

November 2012

  • INTERNATIONAL: Shift2Rail presented at the UIC Sustainability conference.
  • EU: Shift2Rail progress report at ERRAC plenary.
  • ITALY: Shift2Rail Italian workshop in Pistoia.
  • BULGARIA: Shift2Rail Bulgarian workshop in Sofia.

October 2012

  • BELGIUM: Shift2Rail presented at Logistics in Wallonia (Liège).

June 2012

  • NETHERLANDS: Dutch Rail Forum seminar on Shift2Rail in The Hague.
  • POLAND: Presentation of Shift2Rail at the European Transport Network Alliance (ETNA) seminar in Warsaw.

March 2012

  • EU: Shift2Rail progress report at ERRAC plenary.
  • EU: Shift2Rail presentation at the European Federation of Trackworks Contractors (EFRTC) Policy & Research Committee.
  • FRANCE: Shift2Rail presentation at i-Trans Railway Meeting Industry in Lille.

January 2012

  • EU: Shift2Rail presented at the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) Workshop on Technical Harmonisation and Standardisation in the field of Urban Rail.
  • EU: Shift2Rail presented at the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA) event.

November 2011

  • EU: The promoters and the European Commission present the European Parliament with ‘Challenges and Solutions for Horizon 2020’ focusing on Shift2Rail, in the Strasbourg Rail Forum Europe’s 3rd Event, France.

November 2010

  • EU: Project proposal for a creation of a rail PPP presented to the Transport and Research attachés with the support of the Belgian EU Presidency.
  • EU: Project proposal for a creation of a rail PPP presented to ERRAC stakeholders.