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Network of European – Asian Rail Research capacities (NEAR2)
Start date: Dec 1, 2012, End date: Nov 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The rapid development of Asian economies, particularly China, India and Russia has dramatically increased the trade volumes between Europe and Asia, with the largest trading partners of Europe actually being located in Asia. Nowadays, the most important trade loads are being transported between the two continents by sea. Railway transport, using the existing and new land routes for the Trans-Eurasian land bridge presents a viable alternative to the maritime routes, which is gaining significant momentum. Due to the origins and current nature of this rail land bridge, numerous issues need to be resolved to bring the system to a modern state of infrastructure, services and operations. Furthermore, to build the capacity to fully exploit the systems potential adaptation of new technologies, interoperability solutions and optimized operations should be considered. To support this objective, NEAR2 proposed the development of a Rail Research Network, drawing knowledge and expertise form leading institutions and researchers from both continents.The project capitalizes upon the existing structure and leverages the achievements of the existing European Rail Research Network and builds upon the reservoir of expertise of the proposed project partners gleaned from the most relevant past and on going research projects and other activities. The Network aims to become the resource arm of the relevant industry.NEAR2 will establish a unique, international, interdisciplinary research capacity with the goal of contributing in advancing a major sector of the regions’ economy, as well as broaden the knowledge basis of the railway research and practice.
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