European Year of Rail 2021 - Protecting Railway Heritage
29 June 2020

European Year of Rail 2021 - Protecting Railway Heritage

The European Commission has declared 2021 to be European Year of Rail as part of its European Green Deal programme. The European Green Deal calls for accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility because transport accounts for a quarter of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions. All transport modes will have to contribute to the reduction.

As part of the European Green Deal, the Commission has a strategy for sustainable and smart mobility, to be adopted in 2020, that will address this challenge and tackle all emission sources. Amongst other envisaged actions, a substantial part of the 75% of inland freight carried today by road should shift onto rail and inland waterways. Rail has to play a significant role in accelerating the reduction in transport emissions, as one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient transport modes.

The European Federation of Associations of Industrial and Technical Heritage (EFAITH) wants to identify EU rail heritage under the auspices of the European Year of Rail. Their aim is to protect old railway infrastructure and help to rescue endangered railway heritage such as old railway  stations, locomotives, trams and dilapidated railway bridges.  

2021 will also mark several important anniversaries for rail: the 20th anniversary of the first EU Railway Package; the 175th anniversary of the first ever rail link between two EU capitals, Paris to Brussels; and 40 years of TGV and 30 years of ICE. EFAITH want to mark the importantance of railway on the social, economic and political fabric of Europe from the 1840s onwards and record how rail heritage still has an impact on the identity of regions today.

Do you know of a local rail heritage site or infrastucture that should be protected? EFAITH are compiling a database of threatened rail heritage using a questionnaire to report endangered rail heritage across Europe. Citizens and organisations can use the form to identify and report endangered railway heritage.

Download the Endangered Rail Heritage Questionnaire here