The EC says the call aims to identify the core partners that will work hand-in-hand with the Commission and Shift2Rail's eight founding members to deliver new technologies that will improve the quality, reliability and punctuality of rail services while helping to reduce costs and enhance cross-border travel.

The EC has revealed the eight founding members of Shift2Rail, which have all committed to contributing at least €30m to the initiative, as: Alstom, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier, Siemens, Thales and CAF as well as infrastructure managers Trafikverket, Sweden, and Britain's Network Rail.

The initiative is now seeking to attract additional members which will contribute collectively around €200m to the initiative with a view to achieving the objectives outlined in the Shift2Rail Masterplan, which was approved by the governing board on September 24 and will be submitted to the council for endorsement. The deadline for applications is November 12, and the commission foresees selection of the associated members in early 2015.

"Shift2Rail is a unique opportunity to develop strategic technologies and solutions that will radically improve the quality of EU transport for passengers and freight customers," says EC commissioner for mobility and transport Mr Siim Kallas. "Such innovations are vital in complementing the commission's work on the Fourth Railway Package. At the same time, Shift2Rail will help to strengthen the competitiveness of European businesses and retain Europe's leadership in the global rail market."