Rail transport is literally the strategic sector that offers a broad possibility for the integration of transport in sustainable development.
Community transport policy aims at revitalising the railway sector by introducing competition between the railways companies themselves and by developing modern and interoperable infrastructure.
The Guidelines define the TEN-T for railways of the 27 Member States as comprising high-speed lines and conventional lines.
The European Union is developing the most efficient and integrated High Speed rail network of the world and it is promoting a rail corridor with preference for freight.
In 2005 the TEN-T railway had a total length (conventional and high-speed lines) of about 97.600 km. Out of these existing railway lines about 14.000 km conventional lines are planned to be upgraded to high-speed lines. The development of completed high-speed lines, new and upgraded, progressed in 2004 – 2005, increasing the total length from 9.850 km in 1996 and 10.656 km in 2004 to 10.677 km in 2005.
The total length of the TEN-T high speed network is 30.000 km, out of which 20.000 km are expected to be in operation by the year 2020.