About us

Who we are


About our association
  • The Alliance of Passenger Rail New Entrants (ALLRAIL) is the European non-profit association of independent passenger rail companies, both rail operators and ticket vendors. We are THE lobby group for the non-state-owned rail incumbents
  • Established in May 2017, we are based in Brussels, Belgium. Since 2019, ALLRAIL has the status of an official representative body for the EU rail sector
  • We believe that faster market opening is the only way to help Europe achieve its ambitious climate change goals


ALLRAIL seeks fair competition and market opening in passenger rail.
  • It is only by introducing non-discriminatory conditions and real competition that the passenger rail sector will become more innovative and attractive compared to other less sustainable modes of transport.
  • In the limited number of cases where rail market opening has already occurred in Europe, we can already see that the results have brought about better quality, reduced fares, new jobs, greater efficiency, and modal shift to rail - which is great news for climate change goals of the EU Green Deal


Passenger rail should be the backbone of a European multimodal network.
  • Discrimination against independent passenger rail companies remains a big problem. Consequently, this frightens desperately needed private investment away from the rail sector to other transport modes instead, that are perceived as being less costly and less risky.
  • Competition should not be about who has the best access to the neutral infrastructure of passenger rail – which are the tracks, rolling stock, maintenance facilities, and ticketing systems. Instead, all market participants should have equal access to these. Competition should be about which company makes the best use of them and make its rail offering the most attractive for consumers.


We share a common vision: ‘rail transport as a service’ driven by passenger needs.
  • Our vision resonates with the EU 4th Railway Package - encouraging competition and innovation in domestic and cross-border passenger rail markets. The Single European Rail Market should be a source of our collective future prosperity and wellbeing.
  • Our members have demonstrated that it has been possible to introduce new services, improve the rail ticket booking experience and consequently achieve modal shift to rail. Now we need to be able to roll out these examples on a truly European wide scale.

For the Future of Passenger Rail


Nick Brooks

Secretary General
nick.brooks@allrail.eu +32 485 832 991
Nick has a background in trying to make passenger rail more competitive. Previously, he was Head of EU Affairs at the online rail ticket retail platform Trainline. Prior to that, he spent several years as Head of Sales & Business Development at the startup long distance passenger rail operator Hamburg-Cologne Express (‘HKX’) in Germany. Nick gained his first experience in competitive public transport by working for the low-cost airline Frontier Airlines in Denver, USA. He has an MBA from Purdue University, Indiana, USA and an MSc Finance from Colorado University in Denver.

Barbora Mičková

Senior Policy Adviser
barbora.mickova@allrail.eu +420 724 017 801
Barbora advocates European and national public stakeholders for non-discriminatory and transparent regulation for customer-oriented, effective, and competitive rail. Lobbying for strategic change in regulation and its implementation to make public transport multimodal – with sound and competitive rail transport as a backbone of the MaaS network. Co-founded ALLRAIL in 2017 on behalf of Leo Express, Czech-based European operator, where Barbora was previously responsible for external affairs on CEE and EU level. Barbora studied in the Czech Republic, France and Switzerland holds a degree in Law, Media Studies and Marketing & Public Relations.
  • Currently on maternity leave

Salim Benkirane

Intern Project Assistant
Prior to joining ALLRAIL, Salim gained knowledge and experience in European rail transport policy as a Schuman trainee at European parliament’s Committee of Transports and Tourism (TRAN). He studied in Morocco and Belgium. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in International Relations.

Board of directors

The Board of Directors is elected by a General Assembly of member company representatives. The Board meets four times a year and has ultimate decision-making powers for the management and administration of the Association.

Dr. Erich Forster

President ALLRAIL
CEO of WESTbahn
Erich Forster, CEO of WESTbahn Management GmbH and Executive Director of its parent company Rail Holding AG, started his career working for the Austrian rail incumbent ÖBB. He acquired extensive knowledge of the sector in different positions in freight transport, market research, marketing and as manager of long-distance passenger transport. Supervisory board activities and international projects enlarged his overall know-how. Erich Forster believes in competition in the railway sector in order to increase its attractiveness through affordable prices and excellent quality. On the European level he chairs ALLRAIL, the Alliance of Rail New Entrants. This union of private rail companies and ticket vendors aims at advancing the railway industry for the benefit of the customers and the climate.

Erik Hellners

Vice-President ALLRAIL
General Counsel MTR Nordic Group
MTR is regarded as one of the world's leading railway operators for safety, reliability, customer service and cost efficiency. MTR is active on the open access rail market in Europe through MTRX, which began its operations in Sweden in 2015. As a new entrant on a market with high barriers to entry, it is vital that the rules are transparent, reasonable and applied in a non-discriminatory fashion. MTR strives to achieve a level playing field in order to be able to compete with the old incumbent and often state-owned rail operators in Europe. To safeguard and promote MTR’s interests, it is necessary to join forces with others and through ALLRAIL actively work to enhance and secure an efficient and competitive environment as well as sound market conditions for the benefit of the rail passengers and tax payers. Erik Hellners is a corporate and competition law attorney with substantial in-house legal experience with a strong commercial focus. Erik has a background in the airline industry and in private practice both in Brussels and Stockholm.

Fares Goucha

Vice-President ALLRAIL
Director of Strategy and Operations at Transdev Rail
Fares Goucha started his career in the Veolia group and managed several passenger public transport networks. In 2013, he created a public company in charge of a railway line in the South of France. In 2016 he joined Transdev as Director of Strategy and Rail Operations with the objective to prepare the opening of the French rail market. By integrating Allrail’s board of Directors, Fares wishes to reaffirm its commitment to open and fair competition in Europe as a catalyst for better quality and lower cost. ALLRAIL must be the voice of fair and transparent competition within the European Union, as well as the voice of a strong rail sector as a backbone of the European Green Deal. Transdev is looking to bring the benefits of rail market opening to other European countries in the future.

Lord Tony Berkeley

Honourary Board Director
Tony Berkeley is a founder Board member of ALLRAIL, and recently retired director of the European Rail Freight Association and Chairman of the Rail Freight Group in the UK. He has worked on European rail issues for many years since helping to build the Channel Tunnel and is a member of the UK House of Lords. Tony was Vice Chairman of the Oakervee Review, set up by the Prime Minister in August 2019 to report on whether HS2 should be built or not. Tony is Honorary President of the UK Maritime Pilots Association and, in the UK Parliament, is a Vice President of the All Party Cycling and Walking Group. He is a member of the ‘Goods Sub-Committee’ of the House of Lords European Committee. He lives in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with his wife Marian.

François Coart

Board Director
Rail and Intermodal Development Director
François Coart started his career in the railway industry at Bombardier and Alstom. He joined Getlink in 2006 a European leader in mobility owning Eurotunnel, the operator of the fixed link between UK and Europe. In charge of the development of rail activities, he initiated Europorte, a startup freight railway undertaking which became now the n°1 independent rail freight operator in France operating over 200 trains a week also in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Getlink recently diversified to the passenger PSO business in France in creating a joint venture with RATP DEV in order to address the regional rail market newly open to competition.

Ian Chaplin

Board Director
Senior Advisor at Omio
Omio's pioneering platform allows customers to find the fastest, cheapest and best travel options by train, bus and flight to thousands of cities, towns and villages across Europe and beyond. Being part of Allrail helps us to continue to provide and expand these services for customers by seeking to ensure fair market conditions for new railway companies and ticket vendors alike.

Matthias Müller

Board Director
Managing Director FlixTrain GmbH
We believe in green and sustainable travel and we see the strong need to foster this on a European level. Together with ALLRAIL we are sharing our experiences on challenges as well as good practices with the EU institutions to ensure fair and equal conditions for all market players. Consequently, we believe ALLRAIL is key in developing common positions for our sector in order to increase the sustainability and attractiveness of railway services for everyone across Europe.