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Dutch initiative to support long distance trains gets full EU support

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The European Commission said on Wednesday (3rd of June) that train travel should be given special attention in 2021 as part of the EU executive’s Green Deal environmental agenda, suggesting that next year should be the ‘European Year of Rail’.

A new agenda should “offer the legal […] framework for attractive alternatives to make railway become an attractive alternative in distances in which it is not currently competitive”, the letter adds. The idea is to agree on a calendar of milestones within 12 months.

Issues such as complex ticket buying systems for multi-leg journeys with different companies should be addressed by digital solutions, it adds. Frequent rail travellers have long called for an online platform similar to ‘Skyscanner’ to be set up, perhaps by the EU.

The ministers also insist that international services can increase their share of passenger numbers in the 300-800 km category, suggesting that rail will be taking the fight to short-haul flights, which generally fall under the 1,000km mark.

EU heads of state and government are due to meet virtually on 19 June for “thorough preparation” ahead of their next meeting, which could be held physically for the first time since the pandemic hit Europe.

The initiative originates from the Dutch Government within the EU-Council, and you can read their letter to Commissioner Adina Válean dated 2.6. here.

The initiative was earlier mentioned here on this website here. Here you will see, that night trains are also clearly mentioned.

>> The story was covered by Euractiv here.

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