Abstract In Europe transport is characterized by growing demand of freight services versus constrained infrastructures. Rail freight has difficulties in satisfying the customers’ needs. The Ports of entry into the Union are strategic points. The container vessels of more than 12.000 TEUs, are totally deployed on the maritime lanes calling at a fewer number of ports where a higher number of movements are handled. The maritime traffic doubled from 2000 to 2007 while no changes have occurred on the overland infrastructure both road and rail. Congestion is a common feature in Europe. The citizens awareness on environmental issues is growing making the quality of life the focus for any future planning. A more sustainable mobility is necessary making modal shift from road to Rail a necessary step change. Major infrastructure expansion due to budget and construction timings cannot be an immediate solution generating the need of extracting maximum performance from the available resources. TIGER and MARATHON are European funded projects, implementing concepts based on port decongestion, dry ports and hinterland distribution by rail together with transport industrialization through faster, longer and heavier trains. Despite all efforts, Rail freight has not attracted new market share. A profound modernization of the rail economy based on lower costs and better services is necessary for responding to environmental changes. TIGER and MARATHON are addressing in an holistic way all these issues developing in practice the following dimensions: • Longer, heavier, faster trains adoptions on existing lines. • New technologies in equipment and management systems. • Rail transport industrialization between ports/hubs reducing costs increasing the overland transport capacity to maritime traffic volumes. • Cooperation between key actors in the Rail transport chain by sharing the benefits deriving from the increased rail competitive profile. • Completion of rail bottlenecks elimination.