Night trains
Brussels,

Europe must not return to night train services funded by unnecessary Public Service Obligations (PSOs)

On 15 December 2021, the well-known magazine Time Out revealed “the 22 best new things to do in the world in 2022”. Coming in at Number 17 is a new international night train service between Prague and Brussels that will be commercially viable, with an innovative concept that will attract new passengers to rail.

Why then are many state-owned rail incumbents lobbying for taxpayer subsidised Public Service Obligations (‘PSOs’) for international night trains instead – a repeat of the model that already failed around 10-15 years ago. Are memories really so short?

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Brussels,

Sweden, Denmark and Belgium want to return to the bad old days of failed International PSO night trains

It has been revealed that the Transport Ministers of Sweden, Denmark and Belgium have written to EU Transport Commissioner Vălean, asking her to force Germany to instate taxpayer subsidised Public Service Obligations (PSOs) for international night train services on its territory.

Probably, they would then directly award this PSO to a collaboration of their state-owned incumbents.

But this international incumbent PSO model for night trains failed in the past – and it will fail again.

Instead, Europe needs to encourage commercially driven night train services that will grow the market while reducing the dependency on the taxpayer.

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Nieuwsite Duurzaam Mobiel,

Verzet tegen onderhands gegunde openbare dienstverplichtingen voor nachttreinen

Op 13 november (2021) stuurden de Belgische, Deense en Zweedse ministers van vervoer en mobiliteit een brief naar Adina-Ioana Valean, EU-commissaris voor vervoer. Daarin verzoeken ze om ‘passende maatregelen’ te nemen die het inleggen van nachttreinen beter haalbaar maken. Dat maakte de gezaghebbende Deense krant ‘Politiken’ bekend. Aanleiding voor deze brief is dat deze zomer (2021) de gewenste en geplande nachttrein tussen Malmo en Brussel werd geschrapt “omdat geen enkele exploitant een bod heeft uitgebracht op het traject”. Voor Benny Engelbrecht, de Deense minister van vervoer, staat de EU voor een gemeenschappelijke uitdaging om een goed kader voor nachttreinen te creëren. Knelpunt is de Duitse wetgeving die niet toelaat dat treinreizen van meer dan 50 km worden gesubsidieerd. Deze brief schoot echter in het verkeerde keelgat van ALLRAIL, belangenvereniging van onafhankelijke exploitanten van passagierstreinen en verkopers van vervoersbewijzen, die op haar beurt de EU-commissie aanschreef.

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Brussels,

New articles by Investigate Europe reveal growth of cross-border rail is hampered by protectionism

In a major new set of articles, independent reports from Investigate Europe have revealed that the growth of European cross-border passenger rail is still severely hampered by many national governments protecting their state-owned railway companies.

In the 6-7 countries where it has been allowed to happen so far, market liberalisation has really boosted modal shift to rail.

Yet in most of Europe we still see governments deliberately delaying rail liberalisation until the 2030s and sabotaging the goals of the EU Green Deal.

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Brussels,

More growth in EU cross-border night trains But many high barriers to entry must still be removed

In ten days’ time from now, on June 27th 2021, a new night train service of the long distance operator Snälltåget1 will depart from Stockholm to Berlin. It will be the first night train that runs in regular traffic between Sweden, Denmark and Germany since the 1990s. Yesterday, the start-up Midnight Trains announced plans to offer night trains between France & other countries. Clearly, private investors believe in night trains – and this will lead to modal shift. But more night time routes could be commercially viable – if only the high barriers to entry were removed.

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