This article analyses the European Commission’s efforts to encourage the development of efficient rail sector. The potential of railways for expanding their share of both passenger and freight transport was seriously limited by rail systems fragmented into national market shaped by national transport policies. The Commission stressed the importance of the necessary transformation of railway market that requires the following priorities: liberalization, free access market and competition, interoperability including both high speed and conventional rail networks. The European Commission’s action (i.e. directive 91/440 and the railway packages) is intended to a renaissance of rail traffic, but the European States and the “historical” railway operators seem reluctant to apply these ambitious and “revolutionary” initiatives.