EXXTRA Project

Leverage Skills and Individual Cluster Strategies

All the Partners are very dynamic and innovation-driven Clusters and represent : more than 840 members, of which about 500 SMEs, 150 Large companies, 20 Start-ups and 130 among Universities/Research centres and other ecosystems actors. They have also strong roots in their territories and linkages with all stakeholders.

Partners clusters  are institutional enterprises : by developing self-sustainable business models to deliver value to their members; and by being active part of their territorial governments’ policies concerning economic growth, support to SMEs, RDI, attraction of investments, territorial marketing / State branding, etc.. Also, most of the Partners are active players for implementation of “RIS3 innovation roadmaps to leverage their members.

But the Partners are also conscious of the challenges faced by their sector and members and know that Clusters have to keep up with such challenges and related opportunities. For this, the Partners want to improve their skills and become highly professional tools for their members to help them navigate the new waters of industrial modernization and digitalization.

This Clusters’ improvement part will benefit not only from the benchmarking, sharing, learning and ‘discovery’ activities, but mainly from the design and implementation of the EXXTRA Exchange Scheme. 

At the same time, the Partners share the strong intention to develop a Joint Strategy as European Partnership to move from an “opportunity-driven” to a “fully-strategic” collaboration approach, to help the Partners define an overall strategy and to take decisions to boost their inter-regional collaboration and to help them grow also as individual Clusters.

Build a Joint Strategy and Joint activities

The Partners aim to improve the excellence and teaming-up of clusters, SMEs and ecosystems having as denominator the Railway Supply Industry. Though, the Partners’ activity span over 6 sectoral industries (data from ECCP):

  1. Transportation and Logistics | 6 Partners
  2. Information Technology and Analytical Instruments | 2 Partners
  3. Automotive | 2 Partners
  4. Aerospace Vehicles and Defense | 1 Partner
  5. Production Technology and Heavy Machinery | 1 Partner
  6. Electric Power Generation and Transmission | 1 Partner

This shows the richness of the EXXTRA partnership, its capability to support cross-sectoral transfer of knowledge and of technologies, the different experiences and know-how, the wide and cross-offer of industries, innovation actors, research teams, scaling-up organizations etc.. This represents a great base for the development of the “Joint Strategy”, for the design of the “EXXTRA Exchange Scheme”, for the development of joint business / RDI projects, and for the creation of value chain linkages.

The Partners can also – thanks to their cross-competences and rich ecosystems – help their members, and especially their SMEs, transform these revolutions in opportunities of growth, competitiveness, skills creation, and jobs creation.

Partners’ industries and value chains are evolving into the following Emerging Industries (data from ECCP):

  1. Digital Industries
  2. Environmental Industries
  3. Blue Growth Industries
  4. Experience Industries
  5. Mobility Technologies
  6. Logistical Services

This represents a further opportunity for the EXXTRA Partnership to develop a Joint Strategy and Implementation Roadmap taking fully into consideration such evolutions and the role that Clusters have to play to support their members to take the most advantage from new emerging value chains.

Finally, the richness of the partnership represents a perfect base for the development of an Exchange Scheme able to offer a wide overview on sectoral and crosssectoral evolutions and opportunities, collaborations, transfer of knowledge/technologies. The Partners, in fact, although being all Railway Clusters, are the “result” of their industrial history, their ecosystems’ characteristics, their regional/national policies, and position themselves under 10 different European S3 (data from ECCP) that, within this project, will be connected for the development of a Joint European Partnership Strategy :


  1. High Speed Rail-Road Transportation Systems
  2. Smart green & integrated transport systems
  3. ICT trust, cyber security & network security
  4. Advanced manufacturing systems
  5. Transport & logistics (incl. highways of the seas)
  6. Rail transport & related services
  7. Road transport & related services
  8. Intelligent inter-modal & sustainable urban areas (e.g. smart cities)
  9. Civil engineering
  10. Sustainable energy & renewables

Create exchanges between Cluster members and territories: CXC – ClusterXchange

The European Strategic Cluster Partnerships for Excellence (ESCP-4x) aim to increase the competitiveness of SMEs by strengthening cluster management excellence, facilitating strategic exchanges and partnering between clusters and specialised industrial eco-systems across Europe.

These transnational cluster partnerships have been selected under the European Cluster Excellence Programme of the European Commission. The ESCP-4x are supported by funding from the COSME Programme to facilitate cross-cluster networking and learning, aiming at the professionalization of specialised and customised business support services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


Challenges affecting SMEs of the Rail Supply Industry can better be afforded together with Clusters. This is a key topic also included in the recent Report adopted by the European Commission Expert Group on the Competitiveness of the European Rail Supply Industry, upon EXXTRA Coordinator’s proposal.

It is – in fact – world-class Clusters’ mission to know and to understand the changing and challenging overall context and to channel it to the level of their members; to create and untap opportunities; to match SMEs needs; to help remove certain type of obstacles; to assist SMEs in their growth towards a higher competitive positioning based on the capability to develop innovative solutions for world markets’ trends and demand.

These are among the benefits that the EXXTRA project aims to achieve not only in the project short term rather in changing long term the way our Clusters work to deliver benefits to their members.



District for Rail Technologies, High Speed, Networks’ Safety & Security Consortium.
DITECFER is the leading railway cluster in Italy. Its 50 shareholders represent companies of the rail supply industry and specialized research bodies.
DITECFER is managing authority of the « Tuscan Railway Cluster » representing an eco-system of> 115 companies operating in the railway supply chain, 4 Universities, CNR, laboratories for railway tests.


Center For Sikkerhedsindustrien I Danmark.
CenSec is the prime Danish cluster for small and medium-sized enterprises specializing in high tech industries like defence, homeland security, space, aerospace, railway and maritime. It has approximately 140 members consisting of companies with cutting edge skills in advanced manufacturing, electronic and software development. Among our members you will also find leading Danish universities and knowledge institutions.

Rail.S e.V.

The Rail Industry Cluster in Central Germany.
When it comes to networking activities for small and medium-sized Saxon enterprises, BTS Rail Saxony is an expert in providing ‘high-speed connections’. With around 110 members and more than 1,000 contacts in industry, science and politics, the association is the prevalent representative of the Saxon railway industry and the largest cluster of the rail sector in Central Germany.


i-Trans is the French cluster for railway industry, sustainable multimodal and urban transportation systems, which is specialized in sustainable ground transport and logistics. It includes big groups, intermediate and medium-sized companies and laboratories from all directions in ambitious innovation projects that result in approved prototypes as well as industrialized and marketed products. Thus, the center provides a major contribution to the development of competitiveness and employment within railway and car industries.


Mafex, the Spanish Railway Association, is the association that represents the Spanish railway industry, currently bringing together 92 companies that account for 72% of rail exports in our country. Its mission is to support the Spanish Railway sector by accompanying our companies in their internationalization process, as well as defending their general interests to achieve, through cooperation, the highest standards of competitiveness.


Railgrup was founded in 2002 as the product of an initiative to strengthen the competitiveness of the railway sector and industry, led by what was then called the General Directorate for Industry, with the participation of the Department of Regional Policy and Public Works of the Regional Government of Catalonia. The primary objective of Railgrup is to boost the overall competitiveness of its members, promoting, representing and defending their collective interests.


ARUS has set itself the main goal of producing domestic and national brand rail transportation systems from design to the final product in our country and making its members to a global brand, brings the leading institutions and companies of the rail industry together and undertakes the task of producing National brands, providing cooperation and collaboration in sector.


The ClusterXchange programme is a new pilot programme to support short-term exchanges to better connect Europe’s industrial ecosystems.
It aims to facilitate transnational cooperation, peer learning, networking and innovation uptake between actors of different industrial clusters. It is implemented with support from cluster organisations that have teamed up in ESCP-4x partnerships.
Exchanges can be used to:

  • Learn from actors in another cluster
  • Explore growth opportunities in new markets
  • Take up new technologies, digitalisation and green low-carbon solutions
  • Invest in strategic interregional collaboration

Participants (visitors and hosts) of a transnational exchange can be representatives of cluster organisations and business network organisations, scaling-up support organisations (such as tech centres, research institutes, (digital) innovation hubs, fab labs, creative hubs, resource-efficiency service providers, incubators, accelerators) and SMEs that are cluster members from countries participating in the COSME programme.

CLICK HERE For more information.

CLICK HERE For detailed information on your benefits from CXC.

EXXTRA ClusterXchange Operational Manager : irina.vescu@ditecfer.partners

Partners’ ecosystems for your CXC

The geographical location of the EXXTRA Scheme covers Italy, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Turkey.

DITECFER ecosystem
/ The Railway Industry in Tuscany

Tuscany: Italy’s n°1 region for supply industries operating in all railway segments  

  • 115 years of railway industry tradition
  • 15,700 employees
  • Over 100 railway supply companies
  • A turnover of 2,7 billion euros



Manufacture and maintenance 

  • 2 major rolling stock manufacturers: HITACHI RAIL, KNORR-BREMSE RAIL SYTEMS ITALIA
  • 2 major Signalling solutions developers: ECM-PROGRESS RAIL, ALSTOM SIGNALLING
  • 1 World Competence Centre on Tramways: THALES ITALIA
  • The Technical Direction of the National Railway Operator: TRENITALIA
  • The R&D Centre of the National Railway Infrastructure Manager: RFI

Strategic suppliers

  • Tier 1 suppliers for Rolling Stock and CCS, Infrastructure
  • Tier 2 suppliers for Rolling Stock, CCS, Infrastructure
  • Engineering and Design offices
  • Technological providers
  • Certification and Homologation
  • Service companies

Support to the whole industry

  • The Railway laboratories for Vehicles Dynamic testing
  • The Italian Railways Certification and Homologation organization

Strong institutions and clusters

  • The National Agency for Railway Safety (NSA)
  • The Rail Technologies Cluster: DITECFER

Research and education

  • The National Research Council of Italy
  • Universities
  • Engineering schools
  • Research laboratories
  • Public researchers

CENSEC ecosystem
/ The Railway Industry in Denmark

Denmarks Rail industry is dominated by large Railway consultancies  

  • Railway industry has been present for more than 150 years
  • More than 8 thousand employees
  • Several subcontractors and SME High tech companies
  • Railway Contractors
  • Several international Tier 1 suppliers are present



Consultancy in all Railway disciplines

Strong institutions and clusters

Research and education

  • The Technical University of Denmark, DTU

Rail.S e.V.  ecosystem
The largest rail industry cluster in Central Germany

Saxony is one of the Top-3-centres for railway industry in Germany   

  • Rail industry in Saxony has a tradition of 175 years
  • Today, Saxony is one of the Top-3-centres for railway industry in Germany.
  • 240 Saxon Rail Industry Companies with 13.000 Employees.
  • The industry is dominated by the two production sites of Bombardier Transportation in Bautzen and Görlitz and a small and medium-sized rail supply industry active in all main segments of the rail industry (Rolling Stock, Infrastructure, Signalling)
  • 25 Research Institutes and Universities active in the field of rail (e.g. University of Technology Dresden (with excellence label) and Fraunhofer – Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization)


Focusing SMEs, BTS aims to strengthen the competitiveness of the Saxon rail supply industry 

  • BTS is the Largest railway industry cluster in Central Germany
  • Around 110 members from rail industry suppliers and ca. 1000 contacts to economy, politics, and science Germany-and Europe-wide
  • As communication and networking platform, BTS supports:
    – Research, development, and innovation projects through the Innovation Cluster SET4FUTURE
    – Business development (Market Access and Sales)
  • BTS is a founding member of the European railway clusters initiative ERCI (Currently, the network counts 15 European railwayindustry clustersfrom 17 different countries as partners)


Innovation Cluster SET4FUTURE: market success through 1:1 accompaniment

  • Participation in market-relevant innovation projects
  • International Partner Matchmaking e.g. within the framework of funding programmes such as Shift2Rail
  • Advice on subsidies and financing
  • Strengthening of transfer and innovation competence SET4FUTURE members take part in project workshops and seminars around the topic « Professional Innovating » free of charge


Innovation Cluster SET4FUTURE: market success through 1:1 accompaniment




i-Trans ecosystem
/ The Railway Industry in Hauts-de-France

Hauts-de-France : France’s n°1 region for rail technology and innovation   

  • More than 150 years of industrial tradition
  • 40% of the national activity
  • 10,000 employees
  • Over 100 railway companies
  • A turnover of 1 billion euros



Manufacture and maintenance 

  • The 2 major rolling stock manufacturers : ASLTOM and BOMBARDIER
  • 1 freight manufacturer : MILLET
  • A Technicentre of the national railway company : SNCF

Strategic suppliers

  • First row suppliers
  • Subcontractors
  • Design offices
  • Service companies

Support to the whole industry

  • The Railway test ring
  • The French railway accreditation organization

Strong institutions and clusters

  • The European Union Agency for Railways
  • The Association of Railway Industry: AIF
  • The competitiveness cluster: i-Trans
  • An international campus on security and intermodality in transports: CISIT
  • A sustainable and innovative mobility cluster: TRANSALLEY

Research and education

  • The National Research Institute: RAILENIUM
  • Universities
  • Engineering schools
  • Research laboratories
  • Public researchers


Major international events

MAFEX ecosystem
/ The Railway Industry in Spain

  • 30.000 employees si quieres redondear a 30.000 aprx teniendo en cuenta Adif y renfe aprox.
  • 92 members (Mafex)
  • Represent 75% Spanish railway exports
  • A turnover of 5.000 mill. € (2018)
  • Exports 3.300 mill. € (2018)
  • Spain leader in High Speed standing in 1st place in Europa and 2nd in the world, with 3.240 km of operational UIC gauge network. (15.200 km total network, 3.240 km UIC operation, 2.000 km planning/construction, 35 M. passengers, 26 provinces linked (67% population))
  • The Spanish railway system stands out due the efficient coexistence of different tracks gauges. )1.688 mm, 1.435 mm UIC, 1.000 mm)
  • Spain is the European country with the highest degree of implementation of the European ERTMS level 2 signalling system.
  • The organisations responsible for the administration of the Spanish railway infrastructure are ADIF (Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias) and ADIF Alta Velocidad, in charge of the conventional network and of the high speed network respectively.
  • Major operator: Renfe (state – owned company)
  • There are also different regional railway organisations in Spain that are responsible for similar tasks to those of ADIF and RENFE on a regional level, such as Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat Valenciana (FGV)
    in the Autonomous Community of Valencia, Ferrocarriles de la Generalitat de Cataluña (FGC) in Catalonia, Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca (SFM), and Euskotren and EuskalTrenbideSarea (ETS) in the Basque Country Urban systems.
  • Metro (8 spanish cities with metro)
  • LRTs and Tramways (13 spanish cities)


Major international events

RAILGRUP ecosystem
/ The Railway Mobility and Multimodal Logistics Hub in Spain

Spain and Catalunya Areas for rail technology and innovation   

  • More than 180 years Rail Industry in Catalonia. 19th of November 1837-First Rail Train in Spain, from Barcelona to Mataró
  • Up to 27500 jobs in Catalunya and 190 companies. 6875M€ turnover
  • 600 companies in Spain dealing with 145,000 people
  • Over 105 companies in Railgrup
  • 33% of Market Share in Spain
    Covering the whole value chain of Railway mobility and multimodal logistics, including not just pure railway stakeholders, as Ports ans Forwarders or Consultants in Mobility or manufacturers for automotive and motorbikes components


Strategical Scope 

  • To strengthen the competitiveness of Railway Mobility and multimodal Logistics by enhancing of technological cooperation addressed to improve the efficiency of production processes, internationalisation and the reorientation of consolidated sectors towards activities with greater added value.
  • To promote new emerging economic activities based on innovation-research, creativity and knowledge management, to establish and exploit new market niches.
  • To consolidate the ecosytem of the sector in Spain and Catalonia as a European hub for knowledge and the connection of technological and creative capabilities with existing sectors in the territory and with other and emerging sectors as Health.
  • To enhance the Sector at Catalunya and Spain Level as innovation system generally, increasing the  competitiveness of companies, especially SMEs, and orienting public policy towards the promotion of innovation, internationalisation and entrepreneurship.
  • We promote:
    Promoting R&D of excellence. – Enabling the integration of ICTs into the energy industry. – Promoting the growth of SMEs associated with the development of products and services linked to the energy sector. – Strengthening the Catalanand spanish  industrial system by creating easily-reproducible models that improve energy efficiency in various industries. – Promoting the internationalisation of companies. – Attracting and retaining talent, as well as enabling talented professionals to train to a high technical level and join the industry.
  • We are OPEN INNOVATION specialist:
    We work to empower our members by providing them with better notions of the sectoral trends and with better understanding of their supply chain dynamics. Such specialized and personalized business intelligence is a key element for our members that will facilitate the planning, design and launching of new products, technologies and services to improve competitiveness.



  • Manufacture and maintenance
    – The total of Spanish based rolling stock manufacturers : ASLTOM, BOMBARDIER, CAF, SIEMENS, STADLER, TALGO
    – Logistics Multimodal Stake holders as poirt of Barcelona and Terminal Maritime Zaragoza
    – A Technicentre of the national railway company : SNCF
  • Operators
    – Including Main Lines and HST Operator as RENFE
    – Local Lines as FGC
    – TRAMs
    – Metropolitans as TMB
    – Private Operators as Globalvia
    – Strategic suppliers
  • First row suppliers
    – Subcontractors
    – Design offices
    – Service companies
    – Chemical Companies as 3M or Henkel
  • Engineering and Civil Works Engineering
  • CyberSecurity
    – Several members some in Israel or Germany
  • Specialized Engineering as Acoustic and Vibrations
  •  Specialist in several items of Railway and Logistics, as Altran
  • Conditioned Based Maintenance
  • Artificial Intelligence-4.0 Industries and Engineering Companies
  •  Support to the whole industry
  • Strong institutions and support
    – ESADE CREAFUTUR innovation hub
    – RACC Mobility
  • Research and education
    – CIMNE Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya
    – LEITAT 3D Specialist Tech.Centre
    – Land Transport Authorities
    – Administration
    – Public researchers
    – Member of Plataforma Ferroviaria Española (PTFE)
    – Member of UITP


Major international events

  • Forme Co-Organizer of BCN-Rail: GO TO WEBSITE
  • Smart City – Smart Mobility Congress-Board Members of Agora Space Design: GO TO WEBSITE
  • Member of Advisors SIL Congress: GO TO WEBSITE
  • Colaboracion en Board de Congreso Innovación Logistica
  • Advisory Board de THe Collider Mobile World Capital
  • Marcas:
    – Dialogos de Movilidad DM
    – Quo Vadis Mercancias QVM
  • Expoquimia -Equiplast – EquiSurface: GO TO WEBSITE
  • Collaboration with IFEMA Madrid –
  • Collaboration with Smart Rail Congress Madrid
  • Major International Agreements:
    – Pole de Competitivite Montreal Canada
    – Plataforma Ferroviaria Portuguesa (PFP)



  • Board conformed by 22 members representatives of all parts of the vakue chain of industry as OEMS (Siemens, Alstom, Stadler), Operators (RENFE; TMB, FGC, TRAM), Engineering Cos (SENER, IDOM), Land Transport Authorities (ATM) et al
  • Specialized WorkTeams covering from Multimodal Logistics, to New Interiorism or CBM
  • 3 members of Management. 1 Director. 1 Project Manager. 1 Event & Internazionalization Manager

ARUS ecosystem
/ The Railway Industry in Anatolia

Anatolia: Turkey’s main region for supply industries operating in all railway segments     

  • 120 years of railway industry tradition
  • More than 30,000 employes
  • Over 100 railway supply companies
  • A turnover about 1 billion euros



Manufacture, maintenance and R&D

  • 4 major Signalling solutions developers: ASELSAN, SAVRONİK, YAPIMERKEZİ and EMRERAY
  • 4 freight manufacturer : TURASAŞ, VAKO,RC Industry, GOKYAPI
  • The Technical Direction of the National Railway Operator: TCDD
  • The Urban Rail Transportation Operators for 12 provinces : TÜRSİD
  • The R&D Centre of the National Railway Systems Institute: RUTE

Strategic suppliers

  • Suppliers for Rolling Stock, CCS and Infrastructure
  • Subcontractors
  • Engineering and Design offices
  • Technological providers
  • Certification and Homologation
  • Service companies

Support to the whole industry

  • The Railway laboratories for Vehicles Dynamic Testing and Infrastructure Components
  • The Turkish Railways Certification Organization: TSE

Strong institutions and clusters

  • The National Agency for Railway Safety : DDGM
  • The Rail Transportation Systems Cluster: ARUS

Research and education

  • The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey: TÜBİTAK
  • Technical Universities
  • Engineering schools
  • Research and Development laboratories
  • Public researchers


Major international events

Host Organisations

The list of host organisations is coming soon. They will be classified under 3 key areas of possible activity:

  • Industrial Modernisation, Digitalisation and Global Trends:
    To facilitate the acquisition of relevant knowledge to close cultural, organisational, productive and skill gaps to transform the current game changers in growth opportunities. Topics covered by this section will include: Digitalisation of the supply chain, Blockchain technology, KETs, Additive Manufacturing, Augmented / Virtual Reality, Data mining and analytics, Cybersecurity by design, Circular economy and LCA/LCC, Energy efficiency and storage, Graphene and new materials.


  • Collaboration on Innovation Roadmaps towards new Value Chains:
    To promote and facilitate the contamination between different sectors / application environments through learning paths on the Innovation Roadmaps of other sectors, including related technologies and skills, to foster cross-opportunities of growth. Cross-sectors covered by this section will include both Partners’ Emerging Industries (from ECCP: Digital Industries, Environmental Industries, Blue Growth Industries, Experience Industries, Mobility Technologies, Logistical Services) and European S3 (from ECCP: High Speed Rail-Road Transportation Systems, Smart green & integrated transport systems, ICT trust, cyber security & network security, Advanced manufacturing systems, Transport & logistics including highways of the seas, Rail transport & related services, Road transport & related services, Intelligent inter-modal & sustainable urban areas, Civil engineering, Sustainable energy & renewables). To promote the acquisition of tools and methodologies to better afford the market entrance in specific third countries outside COSME countries. The market covered by this section is Railway Supplies for the Rolling Stock segment, for Signalling and Control Systems segment, for Infrastructure segment, for Operations.


  • Internationalization in third countries as European Value Chain:
    To promote the acquisition of tools and methodologies to better afford the market entrance in specific third countries outside COSME countries.The market covered by this section is Railway Supplies for the Rolling Stock segment, for Signalling and Control Systems segment, for Infrastructure segment, for Operations.

Territories’ welcome packages

Each partner will provide to all the ClusterXchange participants a welcome package containing:

  • General information about the country
  • Information about the local cluster
  • Address
  • Contact person in the local cluster
  • Maps
  • Information about the currency
  • Accommodation information
  • Administrative steps required before arriving in the country
  • Accident and health insurance or travel insurance required before arrival
  • Information about the transport (airport, cities,…)
  • Useful addresses
  • Useful telephone numbers
  • Emergencies
  • Use of mobile phones
  • Use of Internet
  • Financial provisions
  • Books, booklets and leaflets worth a read
  • Public holidays and festivals
  • Useful web pages
  • Contact details of the host
  • Other useful information

    Success stories

    CLICK HERE to see the « Success Stories »

    Alumni Network

    The project partners created an Alumni Network to enable contact and exchange of information between stakeholders and partners of the EXXTRA ClustersXchange programme.

    To discover the EXXTRA intranet and to exchange with partners and other stakehorders : GO TO LINKEDIN

    Join us HERE

    This website was funded by the European Union’s COSME Programme (2014-2020). The content of this website represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.