Routing: Zeebrugge-Antwerp/Amsterdam/Vlissingen/Rotterdam-Duisburg-[Basel]- Milan- Genoa;

Members: ProRail (Holland); Infrabel (Belgium); DB Netz (Germany); SBB Infrastruktur (Switzerland); BLS Netz (Switxerland); Trasse Schweiz (Switzerland); RFI (Italy);

Legal Form: European Economic Interest Grouping

Registered Office and Permanent Office: Frankfurt (Germany).




The Rhine-Alpine Corridor covers approximately 3,900 km of railway network and encompasses the most industrialised and populated area in Europe (called "Blue Banana") connecting it to the North Sea through the ports of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Brugge and to the Mediterranean Sea through the Port of Genoa. The countries through which the Rhine-Alpine Corridor passes have a GDP of approximately 6,900 billion euros (2020 Eurostat data) with a population of approximately 180 million people.

In terms of cross-border traffic, traffic passing between Italy and Switzerland is the second most intense, immediately behind the traffic between Germany and Switzerland. 

In relation to the European average modal share, the Rhine-Alpine Corridor has a very high rail modal share, thanks in part to the rail transport incentive policy adopted to reduce road traffic on Alpine passes.

Approximately 50% of international rail freight traffic in Italy takes place on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor.

The rail modal share varies from 65% for the Gottardo passes and up to 92% in Domodossola (Sempione). 

The volumes of freight transported on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor is shown below (Alpinfo 2018-2019):




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 provided a significant contribution to the drafting of the Handbook for International Contingency Management (ICM), which had an impact on international transport and which was then adopted by all the other Corridors.

Since it is a Corridor with very high traffic intensity and an already substantial rail modal share that would therefore prove difficult to increase, the Rhine-Alpine Corridor has adopted a series of measures aimed at improving the quality of its international services with the goal of making rail transport even more attractive.

The following initiatives are of particular importance:

  • Improved Capacity Offer (ICO) Project carried out in 2019, aimed at improving the Corridor's commercial offer, which helped, among other things, in creating an international catalogue of standardised train paths between Italy and Switzerland.
  • Series of punctuality workshops organised in 2019 with extensive involvement of businesses, terminals and logistics operators, aimed at identifying shared action to improve international rail freight punctuality.

It is also worth mentioning the market study that the Rhine-Alpine Corridor carried out in 2018 to analyse the potential variations in demand in relation to the increase in the maximum towable weight permitted for trains, the increase in commercial speed and transport reliability.

One of the most interesting conclusions of the above-mentioned study is in highlighting the positive impact that regularity (with specific reference to punctuality) has on modal shift, also in light of the strong presence of combined traffic, especially in the southern part of the corridor. 

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

In June 2021, the management board approved a feasibility study on the applicability to the railway sector of the "Rail Collaborative Decision Making" (R-CDM) cooperation model adopted by the various stakeholders in the aviation sector, a testimony to the Rhine-Alpine Corridor's focus on initiatives aimed at improving railway performance. Specifically, the model, used by the EUROCONTROL platform, has the main aim of improving the performance of the sector through greater transparency, collaboration and sharing of operational information between the players involved in the air transport chain. 

The infrastructure of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor is being developed quickly thanks to projects such as Giovi Third Pass (due to open in 2024) and infrastructure initiatives aimed at modifying up to 740m of the permissible length of trains, installing the European Train Control System (ETCS) and reducing capacity "bottlenecks”.

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