PSO & Open Access
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?

Read the press release
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. 

Read the press release
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.

Read the press release
RailTech,

Criticism of new concession to NMBS/SNCB by Belgian government

ALLRAIL, the alliance of newcomers to passenger rail transport in Europe, has strongly criticised plans by the Belgian government to once again award a public service contract to NMBS/SNCB for ten years. This would leave the railway monopoly with NMBS/SNCB until 2033 and, according to ALLRAIL, would block innovations in the railway sector.

Link to the original article
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.

Link to the original article