Atlantic Corridor


Performance with a goal

The Atlantic Corridor is also an international community of agents and professionals sharing knowledge and experience in order to synchronise a joint effort of anticipation. As the path ahead changes we work today focused on a sustainable future of freight rail transportation..


In order to evaluate objectively the benefits of the measures of the Atlantic Corridor, the performance of the rail freight services along the freight corridor should be monitored and quality reports should be published regularly.

In 2018 the Train Performance Management working group (TPM WG) of the Atlantic Corridor was focused on improving specific international trains that were repeatedly delayed. Focussing on specific trains is part of a step by step approach to increase transparency in the operational supply chain by setting realistic goals. This approach needs a close cooperation with the RU as reasons for delays are very divers and concern IM as well as RU.


The TPM WG used an action list which contains a top ten list of repeatedly delayed trains per IM on the RFC Atlantic lines. This action list is produced on a monthly basis by the TPM WG via analysing data stemming from TIS/OBI and national IM data. Furthermore, the action list reflects the steps taken by the TPM WG as well as the RU to identify the reasons for the delays and to monitor the implementation of the agreed measures.


For 2019 it is planned to continue analysing the systematic delayed trains and to implement measures to improve those delays. The main tool, the action list, will be changed from an “IM focus” to an “train focus”. Furthermore the continuous exchange with the RUs shall be intensified. The TPM WG is also open to include focus trains from RU perspective into the analysis. In 2018 the RNE monthly punctuality was tested and the management summary of this report shall be published on a monthly basis in the Customer Information Platform on a monthly basis in 2019.


TPM Reports


C-OSS has collaborated in the development of PCS (Path Coordination System) the tool for requesting international capacity and, particularly, capacity (Pre-arranged Paths and Reserve Capacity) on Rail Freight Corridors.
C-OSS is involved in RNE working groups such as PCS User Group, PCS Training Group, etc. In these groups different topics related to the PCS tool are treated, agreed and solved:

  • PCS User Group: focused on bug corrections, new developments and improvements of the tool;
  • PCS Training Group: focused on developing manuals, procedures, and training sessions to the stakeholders;
  • PCS Testing Group: its purpose is to test every new function or modification before putting a new version of the tool in production;




The C-OSS contributed together with the C-OSS community in the functionalities to be developed in PCS, such as the future envelope concept which will be a major change in the PCS philosophy.
Atlantic C-OSS organizes together with the RFCs and RNE a PCS trainings with the aim of helping the applicants to learn how to use the tool and to prepare their PaP requests according to each corridor particularities.



The Atlantic Corridor TCRs works on the coordination and publication of TCRs.

Since RNE set up a new group called “RNE TCRs Working Group in order to tackle with the implementation of the new Annex VII of Directive 2012/34 (UE), a representative from the Atlantic Corridor attended the meetings and dealt with the group activities which were mainly:

  • Analyse the impact of the new Annex VII in the international rail business.
  • Create common guidelines in order to help the IMs to implement the activities defined in the annex in their internal processes.
  • Define and developed a new IT tool for coordinating and publishing the TCRs.

The work of this group gave its first results along 2018. Version 2 of the RNE “Guidelines for Coordination / Publication of Planned Temporary Capacity Restrictions for the European Railway Network” was approved.


In the framework of the Interoperability WG which derived initially from the interoperability issues comprised within the Issues Logbook, as common thread leaded by the European Commission.


English Training of IM Traffic Control Centres


According to a RNE GA decision on the 6th of December 2017 the IM agreed to introduce of at least one English speaking dispatcher in national Traffic Control Centres in every shift until 2020.

Since the signature of the Grant Agreement – Action n° 2016-PSA-RFC04 form INEA, in 2018 RFC Atlantic supports its IMs with organizing and financing of the English training of the employees of the National Traffic Control Centres.

  • DB Netz: English training started in September 2018.
  • SNCF Réseau: English training started in January 2019.
  • ADIF: English Training started in October 2019.
  • IP: English training started in November 2018.

All training sessions will be achieved until the end of 2020


Cross Border Agreements (CBA) Taskforce

The objective of this project is to define a common structure for the Cross Border Agreement (CBA) which fits for all cross-border sections of the RFC Atlantic. The scope of work is described in the following picture.

However the WG has developed into bilateral WGs which are already giving some fruits such as a draft document for a General Coordination Agreement between SNCF and ADIF.


In parallel a joint force between ADIF and IP has been established, to work on a General Coordination Agreement based on the SNFC Réseau and ADIF experience and on an Operational Coordination Agreement draft specific for the borders, based both on the existing documents and with the valuable consultancy provided by DB Netz.


As a result these documents were taken out of the scope of the interoperability WG and transferred to the sphere of the IMs in bilateral workgroups.

As one of the outcomes of these Agreements between IMs, the information that OPE TSI request to be provided from IMs to the RUs will be updated specifically for the Cross Border Sections, in line with the coming framework of the IV Rail Package.


Promotion of usage of the IT-Tool TIS in the IM Traffic Control Centres

Under the umbrella of the Interoperability WG the IM experts also discussed the usefulness of the IT Tool TIS for the daily business of the Traffic Control Centres. As a consequence, the Portuguese Traffic Control Centres implemented TIS in 2018 in order to have a better overview on international train running. DB Netz is using TIS in the Traffic Control Centres as well in case of international disturbances.


Exceptional Consignment process between France and Germany

The starting point of this project were problems with exceptional transports between Germany and France. Combined transport trains (P/C 70/400) were stopped by SNCF Réseau due to lack of an exceptional consignment approval by DB Netz on weekends and public holidays: by the way, some trains were held back in France for several days.


This topic was addressed to the RFC Atlantic as attempts to solve the issue nationally did not work. Hence, under the umbrella of RFC Atlantic and in cooperation with German/French experts from IMs and RU, a solution to the process problem in exceptional transport was developed in several workshops and implemented to the satisfaction of the customer.


During 2018 the Network Statement and & Corridor Information Document Work Group continued working towards the harmonization of the contents of the CID between the several RFC Network. The taskforce for CID harmonization created by the WG produced and adopted an common Book 1 for the RFCs 1, 2, 4 and 8. Further updates of the already harmonized Books 2 and 4 were also implemented.



As for Book 5 two different structures were proposed: one for the first version of the Implementation Plan of a RFC and another lighter structure for the following year’s updates.


In the meanwhile the Taskforce for CID harmonization started working on producing other RFC’s common Books, starting with Books 2 and 4.




A Pilot for a new translation tool is being deployed in the German / French border.



Assistify goal is to ensure direct and flexible communication between the regional traffic control centres, preventing delays and backlogs based on communication barriers through swift and easy information chains.


RFC Atlantic, SNCF Réseau and DB Netz provided a platform for two days dedicated for operational cross border process optimization in Forbach including a sight visit, an interactive workshop and a networking dinner.


More than 30 participants from SNCF Logistic, EUROCARGORAIL, CFL Cargo, DB Cargo, Rhenus Rail, SNCF Réseau, DB Netz and RFC Atlantic attended this initiative with a very positive spirit directed towards improving collaboration for a better cross-border performance of rail.



During these days a list of cross-border issues was identified by the participants and  three topics were prioritized as focus topics by the all participants and then more deeply analyzed in sub-groups for “quick wins”.

  • Improve Exceptional Transport process for ad-hoc trains:
    The exceptional transport process for regular trains was improved in the last months. A group of volunteers (IM + RU) will now monitor quality/quantity of exceptional transport ad-hoc trains in order to specify the problem and hence, justify more measures.

  • Inconsistent Train numbering for ad-hoc trains cause operational problems:
    Currently train numbering for cross-border trains is inconsistent as there are no common criteria's for the IMs. This shall be changed. One IM shall be responsible for the management of the train numbers.

  • Real time train information sent from Rus:
    For traffic management and tracks allocation, SNCF Réseau operators needs receive the most accurate and detailed information about the train composition coming from RUs, especially about train length and dangerous goods or missing driver/locomotive at the handover point.

  • Pilot of an automated translation tool “Assistify”


Since the signature of the Grant Agreement – Action n° 2016-PSA-RFC04 form INEA, in 2018, the Atlantic Corridor has been strongly committed in achieving the interoperability goals intended in the grand application.


In this case the grant is divided in 3 Activities in which two of those are especially related to the development of the necessary interfaces between the national legacy systems and the RNE systems, in order to comply with the EU requirements (priorities 2 & 3 of the Issue logbook defined jointly with the SERAC working group).


Activity 2: Operational traffic management


Of the above mentioned EU requirements this action focuses particularly on the implementation of the TAF-TSI and the Common Components by both the IM and the RUs in order to improve the data exchange between IMs, IMs & RUs and all parts and the common EU IT tools.


At the moment the Corridor has been doing several improvements to the data quality provided to the RNE TIS tool. The improvements targeted:


1. the quality of the train run information provided by the IMS:

  • Volume of international trains crossing the borders;
  • Delays and causes for delays;
  • Update of the previous after national monitoring + procedures are finished, in order to reflect coherence between the IMs’ and the RFC’s TPM results;
  • Train linking at the borders.

2. the Train Composition Messages supplied by the RUs with the fields required in the TAF-TSI.


All these communications are presently being supported by the TAF-TSI Common Components software and the features which are not yet available in TIS are expected to be so in TIS2020 as soon as it goes into production, beginning of 2020.


The final goal of this activity is to produce reliable TPM reports, in compliance with the national TPM, that accurately translate the performance of the international traffic using the same IT tools for all RFCs and IMs. Such an achievement should enable the identification of the most problematic trains by both IM’s and RUs, and promote cooperative solutions between the parts.


When the quality of the information can be considered consistent enough, display screens with the TCM shall be developed for the OCCs


Activity 3: Operational train performance monitoring

The principal goal of this activity is to solve the legacy systems and their interface problems with the European tools, to guarantee that reliable and representative data is being fed into the EU systems.


It is also within the scope of this activity the solution of several bilateral problems regarding the type of information being sent by each side of a border. Including institutional agreements on which IM will send which information for a train arriving or departing a certain border station.


To ensure the consistent reliability of the data, it expected that by the end of the grant period, in December 2020, a new internal tool is deployed to produce Automatic Monthly Reports on the data quality provided by each IM to the European tools.



Involved in the Time Tabling Redesign (TTR) project on progress at European level, RFC Atlantic has signed few years ago a cooperation agreement with the involved infrastructure managers of the Atlantic Corridor for implementing a capacity pilot between Miranda de Ebro – Irun – Paris and Mannheim (1700 km).


The objective of the pilot is to offer to its customers :

  • for the annual timetable request, a performant capacity offer based on the key parameters for international rail freight traffic (commercial speed 70km/h, availability 5 days/week and 48 weeks/year) protected against infrastructure works and conflicts with passenger traffic,
  • for the “short term” capacity request, a “rolling planning” capacity offer based on the free capacity evolution along the Atlantic Corridor available 4 months before the day of train run.

Started for the annual timetable 2019, the Atlantic TTR pilot involves all stakeholders interested by international long distance rail capacity offer.


In case of a traffic disruption due to unforeseen causes, expecting to have a severe impact on international rail freight (lasting 3 days or more), concerned Infrastructure Managers (IMs) and Railway Undertakings (RUs) are going to be informed by the IM on which network the disruption has occurred, about the measures that this must take to lead the situation to the less impact level as possible, considering the different types of traffic and the national and international links.



From the international freight business perspective, the Rail Freight Corridor is in charge to support the leading IM by bringing the international rail freight actors to a dedicated and stable forum (normally by Teleconference), to approach the situation. Then the aim is to keep the information updated and flowing among these. It means a valuable feedback for the leading IM decision making process, and a complementary forum for the RUs concerned about international coordination. At the same time, it contributes to the Rail transport reputation.


Within this framework, the Atlantic RFC team has prepared in collaboration with the IMs the so called Re-Routing Itineraries document (press release), which intends to be useful for the RUs mainly, as a first approach to the alternative routes in case of disruption in a section of the Atlantic RFC. This document displays, in a harmonized way, the main characteristics of the infrastructure, the parking locations, general restrictions, and the estimated capacity level, of the RFC lines and their diversionary routes.


For RFC Atlantic the deployment of ERTMS is according to EU directive a compliance criteria, which has to be met by 2030.  However, this ERTMS deployment is complex because it is part of a more global policy of railway infrastructure renewal including maintenance operations, regeneration programs, and modernization of signalling.



By means of this study the compatibility of the current national ERTMS implementation plans of SNCF Réseau and DB Netz was analysed in the following way:

  • Analysis of the cross-border rail traffic flows
  • Diagnostic of the rail infrastructure in the cross-border section
  • Analysis and feasibility study of ERTMS deployment and the French/German border transition
  • Assessment of ERTMS implementation benefits for the rail market

Several lessons can be learnt from this feasibility study. The business case for the implementation of ERTMS is positive for Infrastructure manager (IM) as well as for Railway Undertaking (RU). Although SNCF Réseau and DB Netz already have started ERTMS implantation projects there are still missing rail section which need to be equipped with ERTMS in order to activate the business case.

  • In France there are currently no detailed ERTMS implementation plans for the section Herny to the French/German border.
  • In Germany the main route for rail freight trains is oriented towards the route via Neunkirchen to bypass the Saarbrücken Main Station. This route is not part of the core network corridor and hence, there are no ERTMS implementation plans.

Please find more detailed information in the summary of the study which you can download.


The objective of the study is to assess the infrastructure constraints on the railway undertakings operations along the Rail Freight Atlantic Corridor (RFC 4), taking into account studies which have already been conducted by the Atlantic Corridor EEIG, and in particular the Transport Market Study (TMS) and the Infrastructure and Exploitation Study. The TMS study has identified major international relations along the corridor for transport demand, along which these infrastructure constraints will be assessed. The IDOARC study has provided information about infrastructure description, links and nodes, for the base year and at the horizon 2030.


However in this study the perimeter of the corridor had to be adapted to new connections in particular towards Germany, Zaragoza, and Atlantic ports, so that the RFC4 corridor becomes better aligned with the Atlantic Core Network Corridor (CNC 7), the multimodal corridor defined to structure the Core Network of the TEN-T network.


From a methodological point of view this study is particularly challenging and relevant

  • Challenging because of the necessity to adopt a very analytical approach with a large volume of information to be taken into account concerning different segments of demand, but mainly the conditions of operations per type of train for relations with Spain and Portugal having different rail gauge than the rest of Europe, and often a difficult geographic context with important slopes. Along a given route the operating solution will most of the time depend upon a "sequence" of constraints encountered and a consequence is that all this information had to be "geocoded" and integrated in order to assess performance of a route, taking into account the operating constraints, and possible solutions to face them;
  • Relevant because the performance of rail operations is what comes up at the end as the critical point for competitiveness of rail transport against road, and this is too often neglected or underestimated in infrastructure investments. In the case of the Atlantic corridor, there is a situation where average distances for international exchanges are generally quite long as compared to other corridors. This occurs even within Spain and Portugal, which should play in favor of rail, but with on the other hand more infrastructure constraints for international relations and it is then important to investigate what is the resulting impact for final performances along relations.

However, beyond the detailed analytical approach required to assess operation performances along the main relations of the corridor, a concept of "ideal solution" had to be proposed by EEIG so that impact of different types of infrastructure investments at horizon 2030 could be assessed and compared. Indeed, such assessment and comparison could only be done on the base of "optimal" operation solutions as regards existing infrastructure constraints, without infrastructure investments.


The first step for final results of assessment of impact of infrastructure investments is the estimation of the modal shift related to each investment scenario. The valuation of the gains for each scenario is just the difference in costs per ton transported by road and rail as regards common base scenario, weighted by the volume of tons, transferred. This valuation is done per O/D relation, region to region, and aggregated in the following tables per main types of international relations.

Please find more detailed information in the summary of the study which you can download.



This study aims to assess the optimization of the international rail freight capacity allocation along the Atlantic Corridor.


Indeed, the main task is to define and allocate capacity, and coordinate the operation of traffic management and planning of maintenance periods.



This general objective has been broken down into two scopes:

1. To evaluate, assess and identify possible improvements of main issues related with capacity

2. To propose alternatives in order to increase capacity allocation for international freight trains


The main issues related with capacity along the Atlantic Corridor that have been studied are:

  • Works along the corridor axes
  • Maintenance schedules
  • Urban nodes and terminals
  • Cross-border and tools

This document tries to synthesise the most relevant aspects affecting these issues.


First, it has been analysed maintenance schedules and works along the corridor axes, in order to get a general overview of the routes taken by international trains along the corridor, and the possible impacts on traffic in the coming years.

Then, it has been analysed the main urban nodes along the corridor (Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Mannheim), the interaction with passenger traffic, and the accessibility to closest terminals.


Finally, it has been carried out the analysis of the cross-border sections between the for countries. They are particularly sensible because of the related issues: type of infrastructures in both sides of the cross-borders, type of communications between countries (including information systems), and consistency to optimize maintenance and works schedules at international level, need of manoeuvres and/or stop in the border, etc. All these analysis have allowed to identify possible improvements.


Please find more detailed information in the summary of the study which you can download.


The implementation of the rail freight corridor comes from the European policy to foster efficiency and competition in the transport market of Europe. It begun in 1996 when the European Commission published the main orientation for the development of the trans-European transport network. Later in 2004, the Rail Net Europe was founded to optimize rail path allocation, quickly followed in 2005 by the definition of ERTMS corridors to improve interoperability. To put this plan into action, the Ten-T Executive Agency was created in 2006 which decided the ERTMS deployment in 2009. To give a framework and define the competencies of the European Rail Freight Corridor, the EC 913/2010 regulation was published in 2010. The EC 1315/2013 regulation was later published in 2013 concerning the TEN-T network development. In 2014, Transport Ministers of 3 countries (France, Spain and Portugal) declared the implementation of the Atlantic Rail Freight Corridor and signed with their German counterpart the extension to Germany.


Indeed, currently implying both SNCF Réseau for the French network, ADIF for the Spanish network and Infraestruturas de Portugal (former Refer) for the Portuguese network, the Atlantic Corridor projects an extension to Germany, connecting to the DB Netz network for the late 2016. The Atlantic Corridor includes the rail network connections from the south of the Iberian peninsula (Lisboa – Sines – Setúbal – Aveiro – Leixões – Algeciras) to north from Madrid until the German border through the Paris rail node (Madrid – Bilbao – Bordeaux – Paris – Le Havre – Metz). Another extension to connect the ports of La Rochelle port and Nantes-St-Nazaire is under consideration.



In this context, the aim of this study is to understand and identify the constraints and levers to develop rail pre/post haulage to the 14 ports connected to the Atlantic Corridor. For this purpose:

The Task 1 presents an overview of these ports activity as well as their positioning and specificities. An analysis of main volumes of their hinterland is proposed, followed by a description of maritime traffics split in terms of transhipment, local traffics, hinterland and by mode of pre or post haulage.

The Task 2 presents a more detailed overview of pre-post haulage markets via an analysis of ports rail services and related volumes, a description of current railway facilities and constraints and a study of the road pre post haulages by class of distance and type of cargo so as to identify potential modal shifts to rail.

The Task 3 concerns an estimation and comparison of transport costs to locate the competitiveness areas of rail services against road haulage from and to the Atlantic ports and to understand how far cost parameters are determinant for the modal split and competition.

The Task 4 provides an analysis from seaport side via Port Authorities and Shipping companies surveys to have a better insight in the decision-maker criteria, their constraints and orientations.

The Task 5 envisages various possibilities of modification of the EC 913/2010 Regulation to foster the development of the Atlantic Corridor towards the ports. A case study is detailed to present some limits of the current regulation or some conflict with the non-discriminatory principles of the Community railway market.

The Task 6 summarizes the market analysis, gives an outlook of maritime and railway traffics as foreseen by Port Authorities and detail the development potentials by type of cargo.


Please find more detailed information in the summary of the study which you can download.


The study evaluated the feasibility (technical and financial) of implementing rolling motorway services connecting main nodes in the Iberian Peninsula to main nodes in France and Germany. Services inside Iberian Peninsula were also tested.


The study proceeded under 3 steps :

  • Phase A : analysis of characteristics and experiences of today existing rolling motorways in Europe; survey and interviews of trucking and logistics companies;
  • Phase B : analysis of technical feasibility of implementing a rolling motorway service on the Atlantic Corridor;
  • Phase C : proposal of a business plan for a specific service on the Atlantic Corridor.


Phase A has as objective to understand the back ground of ROMOs existing services: types of OD, types of technologies, types of public support, impact on infrastructure. It leads to a first selection of type of ROMOs.


Phase B is dedicated to the description of infrastructure on the corridor, and to highlight the different parameters that have an impact on ROMOs services. These parameters are quantified all along the corridors.


Phase C is dedicated to simulations of scenarios that could be implemented along the corridors. Those scenarios are built on the basis of first and second steps results. Level of traffics and OD are coming from the study “Traffic and market research update for the Atlantic corridor” – 2014.



On the basis of those scenarios, business plans are elaborated and then calculated, in order to highlight the profitability, or not, of ROMOs services on the Atlantic corridor. In addition, it is possible to have an evaluation of impact of different technologies and type of operation on the profitability of the services.


Please find more detailed information in the summary of the study which you can download.



Freight traffic on rail is considered as an efficient modal transport of goods such as steel, manufactured products by containers, wood, automobile, etc., on long distances and especially on the European Corridors designed for this kind of traffic.

The railway undertakings (RUs) strongly wish to run trains up to 750m – hereafter referred to as long trains - on all line sections of the European Corridors as soon as possible to reduce the cost per train. However, there are different reasons that prevent riding long trains today.



European industries have the duties to reduce their carbon impact by finding the best transport solution in the same time as guarantee to their suppliers and customers the best balance between cost and delays. Europe has the chance to inherit of many rail lines, interconnected between countries. The interoperability system, led by Europe, tends towards the facilitation of the traffic, by setting up the same constraints. The subject of this study is the implementation of the 750 m length trains on the Iberian Peninsula, on the perimeter of the Atlantic Corridor, since France and Germany already allow these long trains. The traffics, from the previous studies, has been analysed more precisely to justify which stations should be improved. The cost of the adaptations has been estimated to have a global idea of the investment amount.


Please find more detailed information in the summary of the study which you can download.



The European Parliament and the Council adopted on 22 September 2010 the Regulation EU 913/2010 concerning a European rail network for competitive freight.



In accordance with this Regulation and the recommendations provided by the European Commission Handbook, the Managing Board of the Rail Freight Corridor 4 has to carry out and update a Transport Market Study related to the freight corridor (Art.9 (1b), 9(3)). It is important that this Transport Market Study shows a clear “corridor perspective” with a coherent structure for the entire corridor; it should not be a collection of studies focused on individual Member States.


“The management board shall carry out and periodically update a transport market study relating to the observed and expected changes in the traffic on the freight corridor, as a consequence of its being established, covering the different types of traffic, both regarding the transport of freight and the transport of passengers. This study shall also review, where necessary, the socio-economic costs and benefits stemming from the establishment of the freight corridor.”


The new Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013, 11 December 2013 establishes “The planning, development and operation of trans- European transport networks contribute to the attainment of major Union objectives”, and according to Article 6:


“The gradual development of the trans-European transport network shall be achieved, in particular, by implementing a dual-layer structure for that network with a coherent and transparent methodological approach, comprising a comprehensive network and a core network.”


The Rail Freight Corridor Atlantic is in the list of core network corridors, set out in Part I of Annex I to Regulation (EU) No 1316/2013.


The general aim of the TMS is to enable the Management Board of AC to carry out their tasks as assigned in the regulation by providing then with a sound understanding of the international freight traffic on the Atlantic Corridor, including its extensions to Germany, focusing on demand and competition side.


RFC Atlantic - Transport Market Study 2020