Austria: privately owned rail operator WESTbahn launches another commercially driven long-distance service
Privately owned railway operator, ALLRAIL member WESTbahn launched another commercially driven long-distance service in Austria, this time between Vienna and Innsbruck.
Thanks to this new service, passengers wishing to visit the capital of the beautiful region of Austrian Tyrol will also enjoy the benefits of competition between different railway operators on the same route.
Another flaw of vertical integration: One operator is on strike, so all the others have to stop as well
Yesterday, the Austrian state-owned rail incumbent Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) was on strike. Since the incumbent rail operator and infrastructure manager are vertically integrated in Austria, it led to the infrastructure manager being on strike as well. Therefore, ÖBB's competitors such as WESTbahn and RegioJet were unable to operate their trains even though they were not on strike.
Mission to Brenner: Meeting on TEN-T priorities with railway representatives
November 2022: Our President Dr Erich Forster attended a high level discussion about the trans-European transport network (TEN-T) regulation that took place in Innsbruck, Austria, together with the Presidents of the main European railway associations ERFA, CER, and UIRR. Present was also Dr Josef Doppelbauer, Executive Director of the EU Agency for Railways, and members of the Transport Comittee of the European Parliament.
Hindering Fair Access to 2nd Hand Rolling Stock Will Weaken Commercially Driven Long Distance Cross-border Passenger Rail in Europe, Leading to Unnecessary Public Service Obligations (PSOs)
The EU Commission (‘EC’) announced that it had come to the preliminarily conclusion that the state-owned rail incumbents Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and Czech Railways (ČD) breached EU competition rules by colluding to hinder access to used 2nd hand rolling stock for the commercially driven new entrant cross-border passenger rail operator RegioJet.
But there is a further implication: if the EC’s allegations are true - then hindering access to 2nd hand rolling stock is being used to engineer market failure. New entrant operators are then less able to start commercially driven services, because they are not getting fair access to wagons, and there is very little alternative supply.
Consequently, such engineered ‘Market Failure’ will lead to unnecessary taxpayer-funded Public Service Obligations (PSOs) in long distance cross-border rail.
Driving a train through Europe must finally become as easy as driving a bus
“Rail Freight Forward” (RFF) is a coalition of European rail freight companies with the commendable goal of shifting 30% of all goods transported in Europe to rail by 2030. What does RFF want? Simple Answer: “Driving a Train Through Europe Must Finally Become as Easy as Driving a Truck”.
This can easily be converted to passenger rail too: Driving a Train Through Europe Must Finally Become as Easy as Driving a Bus. Passenger operators should be able cross internal EU borders on their own & not need to co-operate with others.
Therefore: it a blatant double standard that many of the state-owned rail incumbents who support Rail Freight Forward - and compete with each other in cross-border rail freight - do exactly the opposite in passenger rail, co-operating with each other instead.