On 7 February, the 10th Anniversary celebration of the European Railway Award took place in Brussels. Followed by the CER-UNIFE Annual Reception, the evening ceremony attracted more than 500 guests from all over Europe, including high-level politicians and transport stakeholders.
The evening’s political keynote speaker, European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič highlighted: "Rail is a very important transport mode. The European Commission works in three ways to specifically promote rail transport: by opening up the rail transport market to competition, by improving the interoperability and safety of national networks and by further developing railway infrastructure. This all happens in the context of the transition towards low-carbon emission in all sectors of the economy. Last year we have presented ambitious legislative proposals, such as the Clean Energy for all Europeans package on 30 November and the Low-Emission Mobility Strategy on 20 July. Now is the time of implementation."
Representing the European Parliament, MEP Karima Delli (Greens/EFA, FR), Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism stated: "There is a huge potential for rail within sustainable urban mobility: better air quality, useful working time, simplification through digitalisation. Train is a “win-win-win”: it provides social, environmental and economic benefits.”
Representing the Maltese Presidency of the EU at the ceremony, Maltese Minister of Transport Joe Mizzi commented: “In addition to waterborne transport by sea and inland waterways, heavy rail transport is one of the most environmentally sustainable modes for carrying bulky freight. And - in our cities - urban rail, light rail and metro systems can offer significant sustainable urban mobility benefits... During our Presidency of the EU Council we will aim to encourage further research and innovation in rail transport and will also take forward the upcoming proposal for a revision of the Regulation on Rail Passenger Rights, to improve the user experience for rail passengers within the EU.”
UNIFE Chairman and President of Bombardier Transportation, Laurent Troger, stated: “Over the last ten years, the European Railway Awards have recognised the players in our European rail industry that have consistently led the way forward with efficient and sustainable rail transport. New technology trends like digitalisation are exciting opportunities to better address urbanisation or climate change, while close collaboration and fair competition among rail stakeholders will enable us to meet the needs of tomorrow’s mobile society.”
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman said: “With the tenth anniversary of the European Railway Award, we are celebrating a decade of awarding outstanding political and technical achievements in the development of sustainable rail transport. This event demonstrates that all players in the European railway sector – from infrastructure managers, rail operators and suppliers, to our partners in governments and the European institutions – are working together for the benefit of the customers. This event also shows that we speak with one voice when it comes to our common goal of creating an efficient, competitive, customer focussed and sustainable railway network.”
In its tenth anniversary year, there were no awards presented as usual. The organising associations payed tribute to the past winners, to the speakers and to all who have contributed over the last ten years to making the event what it is today.
In addition, the second part of the evening paid attention to the great opportunities that still lie ahead. Renowned futurist Gerd Leonhard took the participants on an inspirational journey.
In previous years, the European Railway Award was awarded to:
- Former Director General of SNCF Jean Dupuy (2007)
- The inventor of the electronic train control system ETCS Bengt Sterner (2009)
- Former member of the board of DB and former Chairman of DB Netz Roland Heinisch (2010)
- Managing Director of Knorr-Bremse Austria Stefan Haas (2011)
- Alstom Senior Vice-President François Lacôte (2012)
- AAE Holding AG Technical Director Johannes Nicolin (2013)
- Professor Giorgio Diana (2014)
- The designer Alexander Neumeister (2015)
- Rail engineer Eric Fontanel (2016)
- Former Transport Commissioner Karel van Miert † (2007)
- Former Swiss Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger (2009)
- Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez (2010)
- Former mayor of London Ken Livingstone (2011)
- European ERTMS Corridor Coordinator Karel Vinck (2012)
- Former CEO of the Swiss Federal Railways Benedikt Weibel (2013)
- Former European Commissioner for Transport Jacques Barrot † (2014)
- Former UK Secretary of State for Transport Lord Andrew Adonis (2015)
- Former Vice-President of the European Parliament Isabelle Durant (2016)