New EU Cross-Border Rail Services Between Copenhagen and Stockholm
Snalltaget’s train at Copenhagen Central Station
Last week, the independent operator Snälltåget started a new long distance daytime service between Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Being operated in a commercially driven “Open Access” manner, there is no burden on the taxpayer.

But there could be many more services like this – growing cross-border rail – if only the conditions to encourage more commercial-driven services were in place.

The five years of the next EU Parliament and the next EU Commission (2024 until 2029) will be crucial – carbon emissions from transport are rising, while public budgets are increasingly under strain.

For long-distance rail, there is an obvious solution – to encourage more commercially driven Open Access services, such as Snälltåget. 
There could be many more of these, assuming certain conditions are in place:

All Rail Tickets on Sale at All Rail Ticket Vendors. If passengers cannot find new entrants’ trains because they are deliberately ‘hidden’, then it is very hard for those services to become commercially viable.  

Lower Track Access Charges – as studies have shown in Italy and France, this measure could actually increase the revenue of the rail infrastructure companies because there would be more trains running on the tracks (!)  

Non-Discriminatory Access to rolling stock for commercially driven services – both new and second hand – and fair acess to their financing. This currently does not exist.
ALLRAIL Secretary General Nick Brooks: “on many EU routes, commercially driven Open Access trains are already the default for long-distance journeys, providing services at all times of the day and also to smaller places” 

The new EU Parliament and EU Commission must use various initiatives – e.g. the upcoming EU Track Access Fee and Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS) proposals – to encourage that such services will grow EU cross-border rail in the future.