THE executive board of the Shift2Rail joint undertaking has voted to extend the mandate of executive director, Mr Carlo Borghini, until 2026.

Signing of the agreement is expected by the board’s chair in the next few days. Borghini took on the role at the onset of Shift2Rail in 2016. He will now oversee the conclusion of the programme in 2024 and the transition to its successor, Europe’s Rail, which if approved by the European Union (EU), will commence at the end of 2021.

Speaking during a webinar hosted by the European Rail Industry Association (Unife) on “Boosting railway digitalisation thanks to EU research and innovation,” Borghini set the industry an ambitious target for the end of his current term.

“I would like to see the first mainline application of ATO at GoA 4 by 2026,” Borghini said. “That has to be the target.”

Europe’s Rail is one of 10 European Partnerships under the Horizon Europe research initiative proposed by the European Commission in February. The EU is committing €600m to the research programme with industry expected to match this outlay. The European parliament is set to vote on Horizon Europe on April 27 and it is expected to be adopted by the European Council by the end of the year.

Before joining Shift2Rail, Borghini served as corporate services director at the European Defence Agency and as deputy executive director for the Single European Skies Advanced Research Joint Undertaking from 2008 to 2014.

An interview with Carlo Borghini on plans for Europe’s Rail appears in the April edition of IRJ, p19, or for website subscribers, here. Or listen to the Rail Group on Air podcast on Europe's Rail with Borghini, here.