His appointment was announced during a ceremony hosted by HZ Infrastructure, HZ Passenger and HZ Cargo last week in Zagreb, Croatia, to mark Croatia's accession into the European Union.

CER says the next two years under Kern's chairmanship will feature work towards the adoption of a Fourth Railway Package as well as discussions about the European Commission's Clean Power for Transport Package, a new proposal on Megatrucks, and the adoption of the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.

"I am confident that with the help of all members we will be able to keep on working together for an ever more advanced rail sector," Kern says. "In particular, we will be committed to achieving fair intermodal legislation, which will put rail on a level playing field with other modes of transport."

In addition to Kern, the association appointed a new management committee which features Mr Guillame Pepy, president of French National Railways (SNCF), Dr Rüdiger Grube, CEO of German Rail (DB), Mr Andreas Meyer, CEO of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), and Mr Jiří Kolář, director general of Czech infrastructure manager SZDC, as vice chairmen.