Routing: Zeebrugge-(+) Anversa/Amsterdam/Vlissingen/Rotterdam-Duisburg-[Basilea]-Milano-Genova;
Members: ProRail (Paesi Bassi); Infrabel (Belgio); DB Netz (Germania); SBB Infrastruktur (Svizzera); BLS Netz (Svizzera); TVS (Svizzera); RFI (Italia);
Legal Form: Gruppo Europeo di interesse Economico;
Registered Office and Permanent Office: Francoforte (Germania)



The Rhine-Alpine Corridor extends over approximately 3,900 km of rail network and embraces the most industrialised and populated area of Europe (the “Blue Banana”), connecting it to the North Sea via the ports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Brugge and to the Mediterranean Sea via the Port of Genoa. In 2023, the GDP of the countries crossed by the Rhine-Alpine Corridor was approximately EUR 8,640 billion, with a population of around 182 million (Eurostat data 2023).

The cross-border traffic between Italy and Switzerland ranks second in Europe in terms of intensity, immediately behind that between Germany and Switzerland.

Referring to the average European modal split, the rail modal share (the ratio of freight volume transported by rail to the total freight volume transported) of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor is very high, partly due to the rail incentive policies adopted by the Swiss government to reduce road traffic on the Alpine passes.

Approximatey 50% of international rail freight traffic in Italy runs on the Rhine-Alpes Corridor.

The rail modal share varies from 68% for the Gotthard tunnels with peaks up to 90% at Domodossola (Simplon).

Below are the volumes of goods transported on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor (source: Alpinfo 2023).




Gottardo (Chiasso+Luino) Passes Total Freight Volume - Thousand of Tons



Gottardo (Chiasso+Luino) Passes Rail Freight Volume - Thousand of Tons



Gottardo (Chiasso+Luino) Passes modal share – Percentage



Sempione Pass Total Freight Volume - Thousands of Tons



Sempione Pass Rail Freight Volume - Thousands of Tons



Sempione Pass modal share - Percentage



Between 2017 and 2018, the Rhine-Alpine Corridor was instrumental in the drafting of the Handbook for International Contingency Management (ICM), later adopted by all other Corridors.

As this is a very traffic-intensive corridor with an already very large rail modal share, the increase of which is therefore challenging, the Rhine-Alpine Corridor has taken a number of measures to improve the quality of the international service with the aim of further enhancing the attractiveness of rail transport.

In this respect, the following initiatives are of particular importance:

  • Improved Capacity Offer (ICO) project carried out in 2019, aimed at improving the Corridor’s range of commercial services, which contributed, among other things, to the creation of the international catalogue of harmonised paths between Italy and Switzerland;
  • Series of punctuality workshops hosted as of 2019 with strong involvement of companies, terminals and logistics operators aimed at identifying shared actions to improve international rail freight punctuality.

It is also worth mentioning the market study carried out by the Rhine-Alpine Corridor in 2018 to analyse potential changes in demand in relation to an increase in the weight of the permissible towable mass of trains, an increase in commercial speed and the reliability of the transport.

One of the most interesting conclusions of the aforementioned study is to highlight the positive impact that regularity (with particular reference to punctuality) has on modal shift also in view of the strong presence of combined traffic, especially in the southern part of the corridor.

In September 2020, the 15.4-kilometre-long Ceneri Base Tunnel (Switzerland) was officially opened as the southward continuation of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. With the completion of this work, freight traffic will benefit from increased capacity, efficiency, faster connections and greater competitiveness compared to road on the north-south axis.

As a sign of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor's focus on initiatives aimed at improving railway performance, in 2021 the Management Board conducted a feasibility study on the applicability to the railway sector of the cooperation model adopted among the various stakeholders in the aviation sector called “Rail Collaborative Decision Making” (R-CDM). Specifically, this model, used by the EUROCONTROL platform, is mainly aimed at improving the performance of the sector through greater transparency, collaboration and sharing of operational information between all actors involved in the air transport chain.

In November 2023, the regular strategic meeting of the CEOs of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor was held in Madrid (NA). During the meeting, the issue of the impact that the European Commission's new capacity management proposal may have on the organisation of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor was addressed, also in view of the planned repeal of Regulation 913/2010 (which established the freight corridors in 2013) in 2023. The senior management of the various Infrastructure Managers believes that the advanced level of international cooperation achieved on issues not strictly related to capacity management (management of international disruptions, relations with railway companies and terminals, cooperation with ministries, projects to facilitate cross-border interoperability, etc.), with a specific geographic focus, is an asset of great added value that must not be wasted. The conclusions of the meeting were therefore the following: maximum support for corridor staff in this regulatory transition period and a commitment to identify a form of cooperation post-2030 along the lines of the current freight corridors.

The infrastructure of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor is developing rapidly thanks to projects such as the Terzo Valico dei Giovi project (scheduled to open in 2024) and other infrastructure works aimed at upgrading the permissible train length  to 740 m, adapting to the P/C 80 gauge, installing ETCS, and reducing capacity “bottlenecks”.

It has been noted on several occasions that infrastructure bottlenecks, combined with a high number of construction sites with a strong impact on traffic, will continue to be the most significant challenge for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor in the future. On the one hand, the lack of capacity limits the development of the modal share in favour of rail and, on the other hand, does not favour the necessary improvement in punctuality and quality of rail freight traffic.

The forthcoming revision of the regulation establishing the Freight Corridors in 2013 (EU 913/2010), which is currently being developed by the European Commission, foresees in the near future a review of the competences of the freight corridors in relation to capacity management and cross-border traffic and a reshaping of the existing governance which, as far as the Rhine-Alpine Corridor is concerned, will lead to a merger with the North Mediterranean Sea Corridor

With the imminent publication of the new regulation due in 2024, TEN-T foresees, among other things, the alignment of freight corridor routes to the Ten-t corridor lines and the merger of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor with the North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor to take place within 12 months of the regulation's adoption. The management board of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor will therefore have to discuss with the corresponding management board of the North Mediterranean Sea Corridor the best form of cooperation to make use of the different experiences gained and the professional skills of the staff in order to ensure maximum support for the development of international freight transport.

Rhine-Alpine freight corridor organization