The ALE is a European federation.

The ALE unites autonomous European trade unions and professional associations, which unionise locomotive drivers and other on-board staff.

The ALE pursues the purpose of representing at a European level the professional, social and material interests of the individual members in the member unions.

The ALE aims to exercise an influence on the political organs of the European Union (EU) in order to be integrated into the Sectoral Social Dialogue for Railways and recognised as a social partner. The ALE also works towards the dialogue with business organisations and railway undertakings that engage in international transport activities  in Europe.

The ALE follows and supports European policies on transport, employment, social, and economic issues in a critical and constructive manner.