European Open-Access Rail Alliance formed

From the right to the left: Peter Koehler (LEO Express), Tony Berkeley (ERFA), Barbora Mickova (LEO Express), Erich Forster (WESTbahn), Erik Pauldin (MTR), Andrea Giuricin (NTV), Julia Lamb (ERFA), Markus Vaerst (ERFA), François Coart (ERFA), Lindsay Durham (ERFA), Nick Brooks (Trainline), Emmanuele Forlani (NTV) and Neil Makaroff (ERFA).(ALLRAIL Image)

An alliance has been formed in Brussels which brings together open-access operators in the passenger and freight sectors with the aim of collectively addressing issues affecting non-incumbent rail companies.

The Alliance of New Rail Operators (AllRail) has been founded by the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA), which represents 30 rail freight operators, and non-incumbent players in the passenger market, including Leo Express, MTR Express, Westbahn, NTV, Regiojet, and Trainline.

Westbahn CEO Mr Erich Forster has been elected Allrail CEO, while Lord Tony Berkeley has been appointed vice-president. Leo Express CEO Mr Peter Koehler, head of European affairs for Trainline Mr Nick Brooks, and Mr François Coart, ERFA board Director, have been elected as AllRail board directors.

Allrail says key topics for the new organisation include full opening of rail markets in all EU member states, non-discriminatory access and financing of rolling stock, competitive track access charges, and an open-data approach.

The alliance’s membership is expected to grow further over the next few months.

The association forges a strong alliance between freight and passenger rail companies, who are committed to fair competition and open markets as the only way to shift freight and passengers from road to rail by offering attractive and additional choices and subsequently winning over new customers. A higher amount of competition will help save costs for customers and for the authorities ordering public services.

ALLRAIL members are hungry to invest in rail and to set up new routes and new types of services across Europe, making rail a more attractive and competitive transport mode for existing and new customers. ALLRAIL’s purpose is to support the European rail sector in becoming a more competitive mode by challenging the inherited market dominance of rail incumbents. The rail sector needs to remove market access barriers to all types of infrastructure (rail tracks, infrastructure fees and railrelated facilities and services) and ensure a regulatory framework that is discrimination-and costsensitive. ALLRAIL supports real change.

Erich Forster, CEO of WESTbahn has been elected President of ALLRAIL and Tony Berkeley, ERFA Director, as the Vice-President. Peter Koehler, CEO of LEO Express, Nick Brooks, Head of European Affairs at Trainline and François Coart, ERFA Board Director, have also been elected as ALLRAIL Board Directors.

Key topics of focus for the new association will include pursuing fully opened rail markets in all EU Member States, non-discriminatory access and financing for rail rolling stock, competitive track access charges and an open data approach to rail, also on ticketing.

ALLRAIL will grow its membership base over the next months, uniting non-incumbent rail companies to take forward changes that will increase rail’s competitiveness and boost rail’s modal share of the transport market. ALLRAIL looks forward to working closely with the EU institutions and the European Union Rail Agency to support the full establishment of a competitive Single European Railway Area.