THE members of the Alliance of Passenger Rail New Entrants (AllRail) and rolling stock leasing company members of the Association of European Rail Rolling Stock Lessors (AERRL) have pledged to expand the number of new or refurbished passenger coaches available for use by private operators in Europe.

The poor availability of suitable passenger coaches and high-speed trains to lease is one of the obstacles facing private operators trying to introduce new open-access passenger services in Europe.

AERRL members say they are ready to fund and put on the market the required volume of high-speed and conventional rolling stock to allow operators to expand or introduce passenger services. This includes new or second-hand coaches or trains. In return, Allrail members have pledged to use unused or under-used long-distance rolling stock in the markets where they are active.

The locomotive leasing market, albeit mainly for freight operators, has expanded from 25% of new locomotives delivered in the European Union (EU), Norway and Switzerland in 2011-2015 to 40% by 2020, but the availability of passenger coaches is very limited.

AERRL says it is ready to make their financial tools, expertise, and investment capacity available in order to help the international rail passenger transport market gain access to an open passenger rolling stock market.

“Lessors’ potential to invest is well-known in the locomotive market,” says Mr Fabien Rochefort, AERRL president. “We have shown over the last 12 years that we are capable to give access to efficient, interoperable and safe rolling stock to all operators. We are willing to promote the same development on the rail passenger market, with the collaboration of all the players.”

“It is important that, like in other transport modes, there is an open and vibrant market for second-hand rolling stock,” says AllRail president Mr Erich Forster. “If there is unused or under-used long distance rolling stock at fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms, then we pledge that our members will use it in order to grow EU cross-border rail and achieve modal shift.”