The NRLA has been a European project for Switzerland since at least the 1980s. On 2 and 3 March 1989 a congress devoted to European solutions for rail transport across the Alps convenes in Frankfurt am Main. Participants from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy meet to hammer out cross-border solutions to the expected rise in trade and goods traffic after the Maastricht Treaty of 1992. In the years that follow, there are discussions on a high-speed rail network for Europe.
« A change in transport infrastructures may lead to an improvement in regional development in the future. »Chambers of Industry and Commerce, Frankfurt am Main and Milan, Policy document for the congress in Frankfurt, p. 68, 2nd und 3rd march 1989