Successful Back-on-Track meeting in Hamburg 12.3.16
17 activists were gathered to a meeting in Hamburg, where we coordinated future strategies and activities. We were activists from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, England, France, Austria and Switzerland.
After the meeting we joined with Hamburg train activists at Hamburg Hbh. with the City Night Line departure to Zürich and Munich.
Notice the poster from the inside of the window. Half of the train was equipped with messages before arrival to the Hauptbahnhof.
A little bit later we did also show up to the departure of ÖBB night train to Vienna.
The day before Spanish activists (who could not attend the meeting in Hamburg) send their greetings from a small action:
Better in the night train than on the platform
Trying to sleep on the platform of Hamburg main station: On Saturday, traffic and environment experts from eight European countries met in Hamburg to discuss measures against DB’s plans to cut the night trains. DB board member Ronald Pofalla had announced in November 2015 during his trip on a special train to the Paris climate summit that DB wants to replace their night trains by end of 2016 with ICE trains and buses – a slap in the face to the more than two million night train travelers and quite the opposite to the climate protection measure Germany had pledged to on the UN climate summit.
The experts organized in the network »Back on Track« are in agreement on that night trains are needed for a modern and environment-friendly traffic system: tourists, long-distance commuters, but also business travellers and politicians appreciate being able to make the trip overnight thus saving the day for their family, for leisure or for their job, instead of spending eight or ten hours of daytime on a train. Switching to airplanes would damage the environment, is not desired by the customers and in many cases it would not be compatible with late or early appointments. For these reasons, about 8,000 travellers have signed the petition for saving the night and motorail trains (http://gleft.de/19T) aiming at German minister of transport Alexander Dobrindt and Martin Burkert, chair of German parliament’s committee on transport.
It is true that DB has talks with Austrian ÖBB about taking over some night lines, but it is still unclear which connections would be concerned and if DB wouldn’t possibly cannibalize ÖBB night trains with DB’s ICE trains and buses.
Trevor Garrod, president of European Passenger Federation EPF, pointed out that new night trains must be developed to satisfy the existing demand.
After the conference, the participants and their Hamburg supporters tried out how travelling by rail would be without night trains: on platform 14 of Hamburg main station they unfolded a campbed and provided pillows and blankets. Niels Wellendorf of the Danish Council of Sustainable Traffic balanced the experience: »I don’t want to sleep on the platform. I will prefer to sleep on the train.«