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15th Florence Rail Forum: Private Financing of Railway Infrastructures

24 November 2017 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm CET

15th Florence Rail Forum

Following the usual format of the Florence School of Regulation, the 15th Florence Rail Forum aims at offering a platform for senior stakeholders from regulators, railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, rail suppliers, authorities, associations and academics to take stock of topics relevant to mobility regulation and policies. Discussing with us on this occasion will be, among others, Mr Karel Vinck, European ERTMS Coordinator and Mr Keir Fitch Head of Unit at DG MOVE, European Commission.

Developing the EU’s Railway Network is a high priority. The TEN-T core network is to be completed by 2030, and the comprehensive network by 2050. While the policy guidelines are solid, the success of the ambitious goal for developing the European-wide transport infrastructure also depends on the financing tools. Railway projects are highly capital intensive, and the traditional way of funding railway infrastructure development and maintenance through public money and infrastructure charges is reaching its limits in light of limited public funding. Therefore, the discussion is now open as to innovative instruments suitable to finance railway infrastructures. Indeed, the governments are increasingly looking for private funding.

The European Commission has developed some innovative tools that go beyond the traditional funding methods. For example, in the 2014-2020 programming period, the CEF has been implemented through a mix of grants, procurement, and financial instruments, facilitating synergies and leveraging private finance for projects with European added-value. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are increasingly used as a procurement method for large infrastructure projects, albeit not without controversy. Successful examples of private capital in the railway system can be found in the EU as well as at the global level: For instance, railway stations can be highly attractive for private investments; private actors are already important actors in urban public transport and last mile solutions for rail freight.

However, private financing also requires new thinking on behalf of all actors in the railway system who have relied on and become used to public funding (grant finance).

The goal of this 15th Florence Rail Forum is to discuss the role private financing can play, specifically in the context of the post-2020 EU financial framework with different stakeholders operating in the broad railway sector .

We will try to address different aspects and instruments making reference to concrete examples as much as possible, so as to favour mutual learning.  The discussions will be structured around the four following main questions:



Keynote by Mr Karel Vinck, European ERTMS coordinator

followed by four discussion rounds with inputs from railway operators, regulators and academics:

  • What are the biggest railway investment challenges and how can public and private funds address them?
  • CEF2, EFSI and MFF – which role for private investment in the context of the EU’s future financial framework?
  • How can the rail sector attract private capital? How to ensure that private investment in infrastructure will guarantee sustainability?
  • Private money for (public) infrastructure: what can be learned from past experience, other sectors and other regions?


For more information or registration, please contact FSR.Transport@eui.eu


24 November 2017
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


David Kupfer


Sala Europa, Villa Schifanoia
Via Boccaccio, 121
Florence, FL 50133 Italy