Rail Alliance

The labels range from “eco-alliance” (Der Spiegel 08.04.2009) and “lobby group with Deutsche Bahn affinities” (Die Welt, 02.06.2006) to “critical of Deutsche Bahn” (Hessische / Niedersächsische Allgemeine, 24.4.2009) and “trade sector association” (Deutsche Verkehrszeitung, 29.10.2009). The labels of the Pro-Rail Alliance sound contradictory but they are all suitable. How can that be?

The fact is, the Pro-Rail Alliance (Allianz pro Schiene) is Germany’s most unconventional transport alliance, with no other organisation in Germany having such a broad non-profit spectrum to compare with our railway alliance. Environmental groups, unions, trade associations and consumer organisations, including two automobile clubs, all work closely with us on a permanent basis to promote rail transport. These 24 non-profit organisations, which as ordinary members formally make up the German Pro-Rail Alliance as a registered association, represent more than two million individual members.

Video: How is the Pro-Rail Alliance set up? (2:07 min.)

The Pro-Rail Alliance is actually doubly unique: in no other organisation can such a close alliance between civil society and industry be found as in the Pro-Rail Alliance. In addition to the non-profit organisations, which seek to promote the railways for non-commercial reasons, our alliance has the financial support of over 150 companies working in the railway sector, with ever increasing numbers. This group includes train operating companies and infrastructure operators, manufacturers of railway technology, construction companies, banks, insurance companies and others. The supporting group includes global market leaders as well as small and medium-sized companies. Their combined annual turnover from rail-related activities amounts to 35 billion Euros.

Because the Pro-Rail Alliance promotes climate protection, the tax authorities officially class it as a non-commercial entity. It is funded by contributions from the industry as a permanent investment aimed at increasing the market share of the environmentally friendly railways. This heterogeneous alliance is the only one of its kind in Germany, even in other areas of politics. In academia, we are already creating a furore as a “strategic alliance showpiece”. In everyday lobbying activities, the many-faceted structure of our alliance ensures that we have to be creative and helps us to maintain a holistic view of transport and the railways. After all, narrow-gauge thinking was yesterday.

The Aims of the Pro-Rail Alliance

The main aim of the Allianz pro Schiene e.V. (Pro-Rail Alliance) is to increase the market share of the railways, both for passenger transport and freight transport.
The Pro-Rail Alliance's medium term target (by 2020) is to reach a market share of at least 15 percent for rail passenger transport and at least 25 percent for rail freight. The basis for calculating market share in both cases is transport performance (passengers/tonnes multiplied by kilometres).

The organisation's other goals closely follow its main aim, namely:

  1. Improving the image of the railways in politics and in public
  2. Securing and increasing public funding of the railways (investment in infrastructure, funding of the regional railways)
  3. Creating a fair competitive environment to enable the railways to compete with other modes of transport (fair tax rules, exposing the truth about the real cost of transport)
  4. Maintaining and increasing the railway's superior environmental record
  5. Maintaining and increasing the railway's superior safety record

Our Mission

The Pro-Rail Alliance is the driving force in politics and society in general for increasing the railway's share of the overall transport market. Our motives are:

  • The freedom to choose the mode of transport (rail services improve the quality of life and contribute towards affordable mobility)
  • The protection of the environment (the railways as a contribution to eco-friendly mobility)‏
  • The health and safety of the travelling public (the railways as a contribution to safe and secure mobility).

Our Vision

The Pro-Rail Alliance will have achieved the following objectives by the year 2020:

  1. Railway transport will continue to be making advances within the European Union. Its market share in both the freight and passenger transport sectors will be increasing (modal split).
  2. In Germany, the market share of passenger transport will be at least 15 percent and freight transport  will be at least 25 percent.
  3. Our organisation will have become very well known. All relevant social groups with an interest in environmentally and socially acceptable mobility as well as rail sector companies will support us.

Our Organization

The Pro-Rail Alliance is unique in a double sense:

  • No other umbrella organisation unites such a broad spectrum of non-profit interests: Employees, environmental groups and consumer organisations.
  • No other umbrella organization has dual profit and non-profit pillars.

As the central representatives of the interests of the whole railway sector, we combine the political concerns of rail transport operators, railway supply manufacturers and non-profit organisations with regards to policy, media, administration, economy and expertise.

Our Method of Working

Non-profit members and the commercial supporting members cooperate as equal partners. The activities of the alliance are focussed on their common aims.

Our joint efforts are characterised by a policy of give and take.

Our  administrative office is staffed full-time and serves as a service provider for both the non-profit members and supporting members. It is primarily involved in lobbying and media work and informing and coordinating the network.

The member organisations of the Pro-Rail Alliance support its activities according to their capacity. They provide board members, participate in work groups and make their resources available (journals, know-how etc.).

Our Strategic Direction

Compared with aviation and road transport, railway transport benefits society in two significant ways. It is

  • environmentally more friendly, and
  • safer.

These two advantages are at the heart of the Pro-Rail Alliance's public relations work. They form the central argument for the state sponsorship of railway transport and the dismantling of competitive disadvantages in comparison with other modes of transport.

The Pro-Rail Alliance also works internally within the alliance to ensure that these advantages are maintained and further extended by comparison with other modes of transport.

The Pro-Rail Alliance initiates discussion processes with its non-profit and supporting members with regard to perspectives and visions for rail transport.

At the same time, the Pro-Rail Alliance will expand its activities in the commissioning and the realisation of scientific research. This results from the fact that politicians increasingly use expert opinion as a basis for making and justifying policy.