Austria
Brussels,

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)

Review: RegioJet Train Relax Class from Bratislava to Prague and Back - KN  Aviation

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.

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Brussels,

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. 

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Brussels/Vienna,

COVID-19 in AUSTRIA: Temporary Public Service Obligation (PSO) contract for open access operators: New reference model for the rest of Europe

Under the EU Commission’s Temporary Framework, EU Member States are allowed to use the full flexibility foreseen under State aid rules to support the economy. Therefore, we welcome the Austrian government’s new decision to award both open access operators between Vienna and Salzburg - WESTbahn and ÖBB - with a temporary PSO order for the route1, starting today.

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International Railway Journal: Westbahn in transition

Westbahn introduced a significantly reduced service at the December 2019 timetable change. While a backward step for the private operator, as CEO Dr Erich Forster reveals in an exclusive interview with Kevin Smith, in the medium-term it will aid the company’s plan to run as a viable alternative to ÖBB.

Link to the original article

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Brussels/Prague/Vienna,

New revelation: alleged agreement between ÖBB and ČD to “eliminate” new entrant’s access to rolling stock

According a media report earlier today , the Czech state rail incumbent ČD could face a fine of up to 4 billion Czech Koruna (= €158 million) for an alleged cartel agreement that sought to “eliminate” a new entrant competitor’s access to 2nd hand rolling stock.

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