The axis will streamline rail journeys along one of Europe’s major transport routes, between Germany and Italy, across the Alps. Centred on the new transalpine Brenner base tunnel (56 km), this route will increase the speed of the Alpine crossing for goods and passengers . Improvements will cut journey times significantly – by as much as two and a half hours between Berlin and Munich, for example.
The additional capacity and improved quality of service will attract new rail traffic, helping to reduce road congestion along this key corridor by shifting freight and passengers to the railway. This is especially important in the ecologically sensitive Alpine region, where heavy road traffic has serious environmental impacts. The European Commission has designated Karel van Miert as European coordinator for this priority axis, which should be finalised by 2015.