The continent of Europe will soon have better rail connections between many of the Member States, as the European Commission has decided to support ten pilot projects, in order to establish new rail services or improve existing ones.
According to a statement of the Commission issued on January 31, these new and improved rails will better connect Europe making travel by train between the Member States faster, more frequent and more affordable, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Commenting on the measure, the EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said that the EU rail market must move forward in order to respond better and faster to the growing demand for green travel.
“This is why the European Commission now wants to help rail companies create new international train connections – by day and by night – by breaking down the many barriers to cross-border rail. I’m looking forward to working with the rail sector to make these 10 pilots a success and to inspire many more to join!” the Commissioner said.
The Commission has carefully evaluated numerous projects proposed for cross-border pilot services, and has selected ten of them.
- Connection Germany – Denmark – Sweden, with the participation of:
- SJ – night train Stockholm – Copenhagen – Berlin (new service)
- SJ – day train Hamburg – Gothenburg (and potentially Oslo, in co-operation with DSB and DB (new service)
- Snälltaget – night train Stockholm – Copenhagen – Berlin (improved service)
- České dráhy – Prague – Berlin -Copenhagen, in co-operation with DB and DSB (new service)
- Flixtrain – Leipzig – Berlin – Copenhagen – Stockholm (new service)
- European Sleeper – night train Amsterdam – Barcelona (new service)
- Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya – connecting Catalonia and the South of France (new service)
- Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane /Deutsche Bahn – Rome – Munich and Milan – Munich (new service)
- Flixtrain – Munich – Zurich (new service)
- Hungarian Ministry of Transport – Hungary, Austria and western Romania (new service)
- ILSA – Lisbon – A Coruña and Lisbon – Madrid (new service)
- Midnight Trains – night train Paris – Milan – Venice (new service)
- Nederlandse Spoorwegen – Amsterdam – London service, in cooperation with Eurostar (improved service)
- WESTbahn, Munich – Vienna – Budapest, (new service which is extension of existing service)
All these projects will be launched as soon as the EU Commission gives them the green light.
Data by the European Agency of Statistics, Eurostat, show that a total of 261 billion passenger kilometres were recorded through rail transport last year in the EU. Even though there was a 17 per cent increase in these numbers compared to 2020, the figures remain still remain 37 per cent lower than in 2019 before the pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic, the countries that suffered most in terms of a drop in rail passenger numbers are Ireland with a 64 per cent drop followed by Italy with a 51 per cent drop and Slovakia with 50 per cent.
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