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Smooth access to cross border train paths in sight

Cross border Eurostar / Thalys trains in Brussels Midi Station

To ensure smooth cross-border traffic, it is crucial to apply the same processes throughout Europe when train operators apply for a cross border train path. If that is made more easy it will support a modal shift to rail. The European Commission has taken an initiative and proposed a Regulation. At the plenary session 13.3.2024, the European Parliament took the next step into providing the right legal framework for a thorough implementation.

Rapporteur at the EU Parliament Tilly Metz summarised: “This new regulation will allow for more optimal use of the rail tracks so that we can get more trains on the tracks. Train passengers will benefit from an increase of punctuality and reliability and it will become easier for shippers to use rail transport for their goods. […] With this proposal we can start to move from a patchwork of networks to a seamless European railway network.”

Capacity Regulation will definitely impact capacity allocation for all rail transport in Europe, including night trains.

We asked Lukas del Guidice from the Swiss based Forum Train Europe (FTE) how he could explain the benefits of this new regulation:

In my opinion, the following aspects are particularly interesting for night trains, he said:

1) For stable traffic such as night trains, a final confirmation of the timetable should take place at an earlier point in time. This means that tickets, for example for Christmas traffic right after the timetable change, can be sold earlier. In this way, you catch up with other modes of transport such as airplanes and long-distance buses.

2) A multi-year allocation of route capacity should be supported for up to 3 years through the element of “rolling planning”. This creates better planning security for night train providers, as they can rely on allocating a route in the same “capacity band” for the 3 years received This can also have a positive impact on the financing of the rolling stock, e.g. by providing a certain level of protection for the business plan against lenders.

3) If more applicants apply for routes than there is capacity available, these conflicts should ultimately be resolved by using socio-economic criteria if conciliatory coordination is not successful. This means that the transport should be awarded the contract that brings the greatest benefit to society, for example through modal shift.

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  1. Pingback: Commission Européenne – Oui au train de nuit !

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