Thursday 29 February 2024

Kick off meeting for the Erasmus+ European project TOUR&RAIL

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The inaugural meeting of the European project TOUR&RAIL took place on 21 February 2024 at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). This three-year European project is set to run until November 2026 and will address vital contemporary challenges: the transition towards decarbonised transport models, while ensuring regional cohesion and preserving the right of rural communities to a dignified life. The project will focus on the crucial role of regional railways as catalysts for regional development, considering the expectations, demands, and entrepreneurial capacities of local communities.

The project is coordinated by the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) in cooperation with the other project partners:

  • University Gustave Eiffel, France: operating as an experimental university supporting European programmes. It brings a multidisciplinary research team focused on socioeconomics, planning, geography, and regional development.
  • University of Florence, Italy: specialising in maintenance, monitoring, and damage prevention.
  • University of Evora, Portugal: focusing on land management.
  • International Union of Railways (UIC): supporting the project, and assuring the cooperation and input from two sectors of the Passenger department, TopRail, tourist opportunities from railways, and CRTS, Commuter and Regional Train services.

Project overview: TOUR&RAIL aims to establish a collaborative environment for an environmentally friendly transition in rural areas. It revolves around building a sustainable tourism model to apply to low-traffic railways in Europe, seeking to prevent these lines from being closed. The project explores the possibilities in terms of tourism for both the local population and tourists to continue to travel by rail. A key aspect of this is photo and written documentation throughout the project, with planned deliverables, broadcasting events, and learning activities being planned.

Work Packages (WPs): The project is divided into five Work Packages (WPs), each with specific objectives:

  • WP2: Inventory of Low-Traffic Railway Lines - developing a methodology, designating target lines, applying this in Spain, and educating future generations in regional structuring
  • WP3: Tourism Potential Interactive Atlas - analysing regions, evaluating social cohesion and regional capital, and detailing the potential for sustainable tourism
  • WP4: Compendium of Successful Cases where Tourism was Encouraged on Low-Traffic Lines in Europe
  • WP5: Governance Models Handbook for Low Traffic - Proposing a good practice manual, emphasising the empowerment of local communities

TOUR&RAIL represents a collaborative effort aiming to contribute to an environmentally friendly transition and create sustainable tourism on low-traffic railways in Europe. With prestigious partners and a detailed management plan, the project is poised to have a significant impact in the course of its three-year duration.

Erasmus+ number: KA220-HED-6184C564

For further information, please contact Vanessa Perez at

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