Last October, we posted an item highlighting how Eurostar has been effectively strangled since the start in 1994 from reaching it’s full potential. We then sent letters to various media outlets based on this item – in case you missed it see the monthly news item on 12th October 2022 at https://www.eurorailcampaignuk.org/monthly-news/ . Although it was not picked up by the National Media it was published in full in the December issues of Modern Railways, Todays Railways-Europe and Railwatch. Later on, in early February another fortnightly publication called Rail covered the topic in 3 separate articles in the same edition, including one by Christian Woolmar in his regular column. These articles all explained how and why Eurostar could not charge
EUROPEAN PASSENGER FEDERATION(EPF) 20th ANNIVERSARY EVENT On January 13th the European Passengers’ Federation (of which ERC(UK) is an associate member) marked its 20th birthday with a special event at the European Parliament in Brussels. ERC(UK) and the German association PROBAHN helped sponsor the event, and two of our members attended along with 35 other colleagues from Continental public transport users’ associations, lobbyists and decision-makers. The event was hosted by Irish MEP Ciaran Cuffe and speakers included representatives of the Community of European Railways, ALLRAIL plus train campaigner and blogger Jon Worth. Topics covered in the presentations and discussion embraced cross-border services and passenger rights. For a full report see: http://www.epf.eu/wp/epf-celebrates-turning-20/ TO EUROPE BY RAIL/SEA/RAIL One of the few convenient links to Europe
Some of you may have come across the Euronews website. In case you missed this, they recently published a bulletin listing lots of news about new and improved services which will be running across many European countries this year. As well as lots of information, there are also some useful links to Traveller blogs- for example – 14 days around Italy and a rail trip across 9 different countries. There is even one by a seasoned rail campaigner who during 2 months last summer took 150 trains across 28 different countries in the European Economic area. See: https://www.euronews.com/travel/2022/12/28/flight-free-travel-europes-new-long-distance-train-routes-for-2022 And see also: https://www.euronews.com/travel/2022/07/22/meet-the-man-battling-to-fix-europe-s-trains-via-an-epic-40-day-journey
It will soon be 3 years before Kent lost its’ direct Eurostar services from Ashford and Ebbsfleet with no sign of them returning anytime soon. Since then, Kent residents have had to double back to London St Pancras and pay extra just to take a train across the channel to Europe. We are now asking Eurostar to offer free or reduced fares on the connecting HS1 services from Ashford International & Ebbsfleet to St Pancras run by South Eastern Trains. In the meantime, the choice of cross channel ferry services from Dover to Calais for foot passengers is substantially reduced. DFDS no longer take foot passengers on any of their services and P & O have limited foot passengers to
Before the Channel Tunnel opened in 1995, you could always buy a paper train ticket from most UK stations to most destinations all over Europe. Since the start of Eurostar services from London, it has become harder to buy a through ticket to many destinations beyond France, Belgium & The Netherlands. An easy connection at Brussels onto Germany is complicated by the fact that a Deutsche Bahn ticket for Germany is not valid on a Thalys (now part of Eurostar) service to Cologne. Thanks to rail campaigners all over Europe there is finally some hope on the horizon. Back in October, a formal agreement was announced by all main train operators across Europe that they will adapt their ticketing systems
The Belgian Government have announced that they will subsidize the track access charges for all night trains serving Belgium. This is designed to encourage train operators to run more night trains from Brussels to other parts of Europe. From here in the UK, we have long supported the development of Brussels as a night train hub, where convenient connections can be made with daytime Eurostar services. See this link which should translate into English for further information: https://www.lok-report.de/news/europa/item/37144-belgien-europapremiere-foederalregierung-beschliesst-ein-system-zur-unterstuetzung-von-nachtzugbetreibern.htm We now call on the UK Government to find a way of reducing the track access charges for both HS1 and the Channel Tunnel, so we can enjoy cheaper, more frequent train services to & from Europe.
As we face a Climate Emergency, why is it still so hard and expensive to use Eurostar-the greenest way to travel to and from Europe? Eurostar has been continually ” strangled” ever since its birth when the first train ran through the Channel Tunnel in November 1994. The responsibility for all this clearly lies with the UK Government. This is mainly due to their ideological obsession of privatising all major infrastructure projects. How has this happened ? 1 – The track access charges per kilometer that Eurostar has to pay to the owners of the Channel Tunnel have always been set much higher than the average across Europe. 2 – The need for all passengers to go through airport style
On the 16th September our colleagues from Back on Track in Belgium, Germany, Denmark & Sweden organised a series of events to promote the need for a Night Train from Brussels to Malmo in the south of Sweden. Such a service would be very useful for people in the UK, as we could then connect directly into this service via an afternoon Eurostar from London. We have posted a link to a clip from Back-on-Track Belgium, which illustrates the various events which took place on that day. The link also shows a suggested timetable and some information about the various towns and cities served along the route. Although most of the text is in English, there is a bit in
Kent must no longer be cut off from the High Speed European Rail Network. As Eurostar is now running a very busy full service from London St Pancras, it is now high time they re-opened Ashford International, which has regular interval local train connections to most parts of Kent. Opening up Ashford will help to relieve the pressure on the terminal at St Pancras, which has been struggling to deal with the large number of passengers having to go through the extra Post-Brexit border controls.
Thanks to investment in the High-Speed Network, for several years it has been possible to take daytime trains from London to many parts of Northern and Eastern Spain. This is not quite so easy for those living further away from London or not wanting a long daytime journey with one or more changes along the way. However, there are many places along the way which could make a very pleasant stop-over to break up the journey. Have a look at this link for some interesting ideas :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGR3ipqyjes&list=PL8w-BAm7lVzfnTCJauwicMo0-eeYPkE0h