The European Agreement on Main International Railway Lines (AGC) is a treaty signed by the European Union (EU) and the International Union of Railways (UIC) in 1992. This agreement aims to coordinate and facilitate international rail transport throughout Europe and to improve the interoperability of railway systems.
The AGC covers a total of 14 main railway corridors, which are designated as the most important and heavily used international rail routes across the continent. These corridors are spread across 24 European countries, stretching from Finland in the north to Turkey in the south, and from Portugal in the west to Ukraine in the east.
The AGC sets out a number of technical and operational standards that must be met by all rail companies operating on the designated corridors. These include requirements for track and signalling, rolling stock, and safety systems. The aim is to ensure that trains can operate seamlessly across national borders, without the need for time-consuming and costly technical adjustments.
One of the key objectives of the AGC is to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of rail transport in Europe. By establishing common standards and procedures, the agreement reduces the administrative burden and costs associated with cross-border rail transport. This makes rail a more attractive option for businesses and passengers, helping to shift transport away from less environmentally friendly modes such as road and air.
The AGC also plays an important role in promoting sustainable transport. By improving the efficiency of rail transport and encouraging a shift away from road and air travel, the agreement helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. This is in line with the EU`s broader climate and environmental objectives, which aim to achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.
Overall, the European Agreement on Main International Railway Lines is an important treaty that helps to facilitate the efficient, safe and sustainable movement of people and goods across Europe. By establishing common technical and operational standards, the AGC promotes interoperability and reduces barriers to cross-border rail transport, helping to boost the competitiveness of the European rail sector while also contributing to the EU`s broader environmental and climate goals.