The fact that freight railway transport is very low in Europe fills the continent roads with millions of trucks every day. Some governments have addressed this problem with special regulations, but when even the truck sector is making proposals to reduce the impact of freight transport, there's room for improvement.

Such is the case of this video (which is in French), extracted from a news report from the morning news at France 2. It shows the opening of a railway connecting between Perpignan (in the south of France, about 20 miles from the Spanish border) and Bettembourg. The route is not, however, incidental. Just to mention one product, thousands of tons of fresh produce are transported across France from Spain to Central and Northern Europe on trucks every year. The lack of a railway alternative is a direct consequence of the different track gauge between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the continent, but a similar process happens with Italian products where there's no gauge change.

The video shows that the system improves time by 5 hours, costs 10 percent less for the truck companies and saves 80 percent of CO2. It also shows that the only existing route ran through the Alps between France and Italy, and that new routes are planned to cover the other big route from Spain to Europe near the Atlantic coast, as well as Italy to Belgium. A mandatory equivalent system exists in Switzerland if a truck wants to cross the country. There are also maritime routes between Spain and Italy and Italy and Greece created to achieve similar results.

However, I'm not sure if most truckers like to have to adapt to a schedule of if they will consider that it's economically profitable, despite what the video claims. Switzerland's system (which is very expensive) resulted in more traffic diverted via Luxembourg and Italy, for instance, and the ferry routes haven't captured the portion of the freight transport they expected.

The Ferroutage is a word combination from Fer (iron as in Chemins de Fer, railway) and Route

[Source: TéléMatin on France 2 thanks to Henry]

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