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Our History

HOW WE GOT TO WHERE WE ARE

Autumn 2014Protests (demonstrations, flash mobs …) against the cancelling of night trains in France and Germany (September) and in Denmark (November) with activists form several countries; common activities in Hamburg, Hannover, Munich and Paris on the last journey of the Berlin/Hamburg/Munich-Paris train (December); many activists are train crew members of DB fighting for their jobs, plus trade unionists from France
January 2015First hearing on night trains in the Transport Committee of German Parliament; train crew member (and B-o-T activist) one of the invited experts, other activists from Germany, Denmark, Sweden and France among the audience; “sleep-in” of Swiss activists at Zurich central station
March 2015Manifestation in Berlin and meeting of activists willing to form a European network for the support of night trains
May 2015B-o-T meeting in Paris
June 2015First coordinated “weekend of action” of B-o-T: activities in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Spain
November 2015Climate Summit COP 25 in Paris; German Railway DB announces shutdown of night trains by end of 2016; B-o-T activities in Berlin and Paris
October 2016B-o-T presence during press conference of ÖBB and DB on night trains in Berlin
November 2016B-o-T representatives attend annual railway conference (“Horber Schienentage”) in Germany
December 2016DB terminates German night trains, Austrian ÖBB takes over some lines; activities of B-o-T and other groups in Berlin, Zurich, Munich, Rome and elsewhere
February 2017Second hearing on night trains in the Transport Committee of German Parliament, again train crew member (and B-o-T activist) one of the invited experts, B-o-T members among the audience;
March 2017B-o-T conference in Hamburg
May 5, 2017Meeting in European Parliament in Brussels, hosted by MEPs Lucy Anderson and Jakob Dalunde.
2017Response to a rather negative report by consultants “Passenger Night Trains in Europe – the end of the Line?”
August 2017Seminar on “How to tackle aviation growth” organised by “Stay Grounded” as part of the Attac Summer University in Toulouse; B-o-T was represented
November 2017B-o-T meeting in Perpignan; B-o-T representatives attended Climate Conference in Bonn and the annual “Horber Schienentage” conference
January 2018B-o-T conference at the European Parliament in Brussels attended by 60 people. After subsequent discussion, 8-point statement issued.
April 2018Week of action in different countries.
April 27, 2018B-o-T representatives meet DGMOVE officers in Brussels.
April 28/29, 2018B-o-T input in Stay Grounded conference in London.
June 2018KCW/STEER study on cross-border rail
October 2018Joint conference of B-o-T and Stay Grounded in Vienna
January 2019B-o-T meeting in Brussels with representatives of CER, EPTO, BEUC and other bodies to discuss common lobbying, e.g. on decarbonisation paper.
October 2019B-o-T conference in Hamburg, attended by 150 participants during a long weekend, covering local, national and international issues; Theme “Night trains – not planes”; included also a workshop session by EPF on cross-border services, public discussion with participation of Allrail, Fridays for Future, and others; meeting with MEP head of Transport committee Karima Delli,
2019Back-on-Track Belgium formed
2019European Rail Campaign (UK) formed.
November 2019Participation in EU Conference on KCW/STEER Report, which was then issued on December 14th
January 2020Twelve B-o-T supporters gathered in Brussels at European Parliament for meetings with officials, MEPs and lobbyists. Two days of meetings. “European Night Trains and a Green Deal.” (Just before the UK left the EU)
2020B-o-T issued a 10-point response to KCW/STEER report.
March 2020Lockdowns! During the pandemic, B-o-T had teleconferences and zoom calls. In various countries, national organisations  produced reports, held seminars etc.  (Notably PRO BAHN, Umverkehr, Ouiautraindenuit, FNAUT.)
March 2020Lines stopped during the Corona Pandemic; many will not come back in the case of Spain, also affecting Portugal. Number of night train services is at an all-time low.
May 2021Positive steps – Night train enhancement in France – notably Paris – Nice is back.
Autumn 2021Back-on-Track Belgium poster competition. Annual Conference postponed to 2022 
September 2021Study by Oui au train de nuit “One of every two air passengers will benefit from night trains, if Europe invests”
March 2022Back-on-Track Germany formed
March 2022Face-to-face B-o-T conference “Night train of the past, present and future” with approx 60 participants in Brussels, organised by Back-on-Track Belgium.
September 2022B-o-T study on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and role of night trains, based on the Oui au train de nuit study from 2021
B-o-T and “Prellbock Altona” give a welcome to first night train Hamburg-Stockholm (joint venture by SJ and private RDC); joint actions in Brussels, Copenhagen and Malmö, demanding the night train Brussels-Malmo to come. 
January 2023“Connecting Europe”  EU project for supporting ten cross-border projects (incl. two night trains.)
May 2023Launch of the European Sleeper Brussels – Amsterdam – Berlin, welcomed by B-o-T Activists. 
June 2023B-o-T study on the effect of Track Access Charges and VAT on night train pricing in collaboration with Transport & Environment.
After collecting some 60-80 membership applications for a to-be-formed group in Spain & Portugal first meeting of the Back-on-Track Iberia Group, however without decision on further steps. 
September 2023Similar number of applications for a Back-on-Track Italy group – however due to Italian association law it might be better to cooperate with an existing association “Assoutenti” offers to host a B-o-T Italy Group, not yet concluded by B-o-T.
October 2023Back-on-Track Switzerland formed
November 2023 B-o-T Hybrid Conference in Brussels, agreeing on the future strategy of the network.
April 2024Back-on-Track Europe transformed into an international non-profit organisation under Belgian law (a.i.s.b.l./i.v.z.w.)