Within the framework of COP25, the Spanish Railway Association, Mafex He organized in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, on December 5 the day "The railway axis of the mobility of the future." An act where representatives of the European railway sector met to analyze the role of railroad in sustainable mobility.

The event, moderated by Javier Hinojal, head of Business Development and Iberia Communication of the Bombardier Transportation company, on behalf of Mafex, as a member of its steering committee, was opened by the general director of the Ministry of Medium and Small Enterprises of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Galo Rodríguez. In his speech, he highlighted the two major challenges facing the industry and that connect directly with COP25 and climate change: digitization and decarbonization. For Galo Rodríguez, industrial policy and the actors involved in it have to take into account the need to decarbonize products and their processes, in addition to taking advantage of the opportunities of digital transformation. Then, the discussion table was opened, where the director of Innovation of Talgo, Emilio García, stressed that “the railroad is today the mode of land transport that, by data, is the most efficient and sustainable. Among the key points for further progress is the application of new materials that further lighten the trains, the application of new energy sources such as hydrogen or the optimization of the traction chain. We must not forget to work the user experience to make the railway more attractive compared to other means ”.

For Jaime Borrell, director of Business Development at Alstom, “the railroad must be the axis of mobility due to its capacity and sustainability. It is a collective transport by nature. There is no alternative that is capable of transporting as many millions of people as a subway and suburban network does and this fact makes it the necessary axis of mobility ”. However, he stressed that we must make an intelligent transport network based on demand, where the railway is complemented with other modes in a synchronized way.

From the point of view of the CEO of WSP Spain, Manuel Pérez, “the potential of the railroad must be transformed into reality to incorporate this way of transport to more people”. He also spoke of his "resilience" and the need to adapt infrastructure to the possible impact of climate change. As an example, he spoke of the tool of the EIB (European Investment Bank) in which they have participated and which allows the evaluation and incorporation of the cost of climate change as one more element when developing a railway infrastructure.

Typsa Urban Mobility expert Francisco Blázquez said that "train is the main mode of structuring transport with a decisive role especially in large cities." Blázquez considered it necessary to promote multimodal transport networks through comprehensive planning supported by the technical studies that Typsa has been implementing for years; Economic and financial feasibility analysis, demand studies, transport models and tariff integrations among others.

Renfe Operadora highlighted the weight they give to environmental issues and the programs they have underway to enhance the choice of the train by the user. In this regard, the Director of Strategy and Quality, Magdalena Bodelón, wanted to highlight two initiatives within the 43 that form the company's Strategic Plan. First, the decarbonization and energy efficiency project that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and which includes a master plan to combat climate change in collaboration with Adif and Adif AV. Secondly, the renovation of material for regional services and regional networks in order to increase their quality by making available to the user higher capacity trains, fully accessible and environmentally efficient. In addition, as a member of the Committee of Suburban Railways of the International Public Transport Union, UITP, briefly presented the global ONEPLANET campaign on public transport and climate change, which during these days is being shown in the public transport system of Madrid and other 50 Cities around the world.

The general director of the European Railway Association (UNIFE), Philippe Citroën, insisted on the need to continue betting on joint innovation, as has been done in the European R&D project “Shift2rail”, for which his second stage. For Citroën, the only means that has reduced its emissions in recent years is rail and research will continue to be key to helping to achieve more sustainable transport. For this reason, he considered it very necessary to have the support and funds of the European Union to advance programs such as the so-called “Connecting Europe Facility” (CEF) and advance the total electrification of the lines. He also recalled that we are at a key moment in Europe where we discuss the "Green Deal" as the central axis of action to be the first continent "climate neutral." This program will significantly increase public spending and represents a great opportunity to boost the implementation of the railroad as the central axis of the community sustainable transport policy. During the event several topics related to the climate were discussed, such as the advances in the incorporation of hydrogen trains for non-electrified lines, the increase in the electrification of European lines, the importance of working on inclusion and the user experience to that opts for the train in its displacements and the use of renewable energies. All this, with the aim of contributing to reduce the carbon footprint and take care of the environment.

Finally, Hinojal urged Public Administrations to promote and support rail transport as an efficient means and as the axis of their policies and strategies for sustainable transport in the medium and long term. This will require a firm commitment to R & D & I programs, which include long-term financing plans, to encourage the development of rail transport throughout the value chain. In addition, it is requested that they carry out advertising and dissemination campaigns, towards citizens, for the awareness and promotion of the use of public transport, putting value on rail transport in its environmental sustainability aspect.

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