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 kilometres of railway network and encompasses the most industrialised and populated area in Europe (known as the "Blue Banana"), connecting 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 7,400 billion euros (2021 Eurostat data) with a population of around 180 million people.

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

In relation to the European average modal share, the Rhine-Alpine Corridor has a very high rail modal share (ratio between the volume of freight transported by rail and the total volume of freight transported), thanks in part to the rail transport incentive policy adopted by the Swiss government to reduce road traffic on Alpine passes.

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

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

Below are the freight volumes transported on the Rhine-Alpine Corridor (Alpinfo 2019–2020, Ed. July 2022):




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 that was then adopted by all the other Corridors.

Being 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.

Of particular importance are the following initiatives:

  • Improved Capacity Offer (ICO) Project carried out in 2019, aimed at improving the Corridor’s commercial offer, which helped – amongst other things – in creating an international catalogue of standardised train pathways between Italy and Switzerland.
  • Series of punctuality workshops organised as of 2019, with an 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 reliability of the transport.

One of the most interesting conclusions of the aforementioned study is the highlighting of 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 15.4-kilometre-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, better efficiency, faster connections and greater competitiveness compared to road on the north-south axis.

As proof of the attention paid by the Rhine-Alpine Corridor to 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 amongst the various stakeholders in the aviation sector titled “Rail Collaborative Decision Making” (R-CDM)”. Specifically, this model is used by the EUROCONTROL platform and is mainly aimed at improving the performance of the sector through greater transparency, collaboration and sharing of operational information between the players involved in the air transport chain.

In September 2022, representatives of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor and the North Sea-Mediterranean Rail Freight Corridor participated in the two-day international conference hosted by the Swiss Federal Ministry of Transport in Bern, with the aim being to identify measures to strengthen the competitiveness of rail freight transport. In addition to punctuality and quality, further expansion of the corridors was discussed. The conference was attended by some 50 representatives of transport ministries, infrastructure managers, railway companies and combined transport operators from Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries.

In November 2022, the regular strategic meeting of the CEOs of the Rhine-Alpine Corridor took place in Pietrarsa (NA), organised by RFI. At the meeting, the topics already discussed at the conference in Bern were readdressed and, also in the context of the currently-evolving context of reference, the decisive role of the corridors was recognised in relation to international cooperation, dialogue with the rail market and the implementation of pilot projects aimed at improving cross-border traffic. 

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

It has been noted on several occasions that infrastructure bottlenecks, combined with a high number of worksites 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 low capacity limits the development of the modal share in favour of rail whilst on the other hand, it does not support the necessary improvement of 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 studied 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 along with a reshaping of the existing governance which, as far as the Rhine-Alpine Corridor is concerned, shall lead to a merger with the North Mediterranean Sea Corridor.  

organizzazione corridoio merci reno-alpi