THE FUTURE ROLE OF NIGHT TRAINS
Welcome address by Poul Kattler from the network Back-on-Track
- Back-on-Track is a network dedicated to support night trains in Europe.
- We are a mix of climate activist, recent and former employees, railway enthusiasts and night train users.
- We are about 170 individuals on our mailing list and more than 1000 supporters on our facebook page, from all over Europe. And tied up with large national mailing lists as nachtzug-bleibt.eu and Oui au train de nuit. We are here today at our own expenses.
What is it all about?
- We says: Only with an attractive network of climate friendly trains, EU aspirations to reduce and stop air transport are possible.
- Night trains are a supplement to other long distance trains. You may take a day train connection the one way and a night train the other.
- Trains are an integrated transport service, improve the system, don’t destroy it!
- Save the day: When distance is more than six hours on a day train or more than 750 km, a night train might be relevant.
- Where many evening and morning flights exist, a night train could take over.
- Take a look at a map: Which percentages of the EU population can reach Brussels with a train with less than six hours ride?
- With a night train you can arrive from far away in the morning long before the first day train to your meeting, brunch with your family or start the skiing on the mountain slopes. Flights and day trains cannot compete on this field.
- Let me repeat: There is no contradiction between fast day trains and night trains. But high speed trains cannot make night trains irrelevant.
In our opinion a night train shall offer a range of comfort and prices, from cheap reclining seats, over couchettes to real sleeping cars.
We are in favor of all operators, who will run night trains.
- Information and ticketing can be so much improved
- A journey including a night train should be easy to spot and easy to book, at least as easy as the booking of airline tickets. At the moment it is only going to be more complicated, I am sorry to say.
What to do?
- We will encourage the rail industry to be innovative and find the solutions!
- Create a financial and legal framework (both in EU framework and among the member states) so it is going to be easier to run night trains.
- We hope the ideas from this meeting can give us all new optimism and create new initiatives. We will during the next day’s make a summary of the ideas from this conference so actions can be taken. We will be proud if we afterward can remember the outcomes of this meeting as a turning point for the night trains in Europe.