Press Release

The HUGE Mistake In the EU Action Plan To Boost Long-distance & Cross-Border Passenger Rail

It is with disbelief that independent passenger rail operators note how, in the EU Parliament Transport Committee’s Draft Report of the EU Action Plan to boost long-distance & cross-border passenger rail, a HUGE mistake is being made – by promoting more Public Service Obligations (PSOs). Public Service Obligations (PSOs) for EU long distance cross-border rail have failed in the recent past – and they will fail again.

Therefore, we urge the Members of the EU Parliament’s Transport Committee (TRAN) to make urgent changes to their Draft Report on the EU Action Plan - for the sake of the growth in the international rail sector and meeting the goals of the EU Green Deal.

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State incumbents fail at cross-border high speed rail – unless they compete with each other

Thalys, the rail operator belonging to both French and Belgian state-owned incumbents (SNCF & SNCB/NMBS), has once again shown that it is unable to maximise the potential of cross-border high speed rail.

It is now closing down its in-house low-cost high-speed operator Izy, which was occasionally allowed to offer lower fares on the same Paris-Brussels route as the parent brand. Coming just weeks after the merger of Thalys and Eurostar was approved, high speed rail passengers in North-West Europe are now destined for higher fares and fewer departures. It is bad news for modal shift to rail.

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Getting The Grain Out Of Ukraine

Ukraine is known as the “breadbasket of Europe” and is one of the top grain exporters, crucial to providing nourishment & preventing famine in many other parts of the world. Due to the unprovoked invasion by Russia, there are currently 20 million tonnes of grain languishing in Ukrainian storage facilities. It needs to urgently get out to the world market, in order to increase the supply that will then lead to price reductions.

The railway/railroad must now take on an essential role in bringing Ukrainian agricultural goods via neighbouring EU countries to Europe and the rest of the world.
This is why the Support Ukraine Rail Task Force urges all rail market players both in Europe & around the world to participate in the EU Commission’s new “Solidarity Lanes” initiative with measures to facilitate the export of Ukrainian agricultural products.

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(Europe) Call for donations: Help the Ukrainian railway heroes in this crisis

The Ukrainian rail system is the lifeline for refugees, medicine, food and other humanitarian aid. Already more than 80 rail workers have died keeping the railroad running. After all, only today it was reported how Russia is intensifying its attacks on railways, taking aim at Ukraine's connection to the outside world.

We are now offering you the chance to directly support all of the Ukrainian railroad heroes! We are working together with the global charitable organisation United Way, its German branch PHINEO and its Ukraine program WE-AID to provide targeted help to the Ukrainian rail sector.

Further information on how to donate can be found in the press release by clicking on the link below.

This call for donations has been issued by the Multinational Support Ukraine Rail Task Force, a partnership of leaders from the worldwide rail industry chaired by Jolene Molitoris, former US Federal Railroad Administrator.

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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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