NIGHT TRAIN REVIVAL IN FRANCE In recent years before the Covid crisis there remained only 3 regular night train services for the whole of France. On 2nd August president Macron announced plans to expand the number of night train services across France from 2022. GOOD AND BAD NEWS FROM EUROSTAR THE GOOD : Eurostar are now running regular services from London to Paris, Brussels, Lille & Amsterdam. They have also made it more flexible if you want to exchange your ticket for a different service. THE BAD : Eurostar are not serving Ebbsfleet, Ashford, Calais Frethun or Marseilles until further notice. Nor do they plan to run their services to the French Ski resorts in 2021.
” TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS 2.0 ? “ On the 21st September the 27 Transport Ministers from EU member states will be holding a virtual conference to progress climate-friendly rail transport. This will cover International high-speed and overnight rail services. They will discuss the setting up of a one-stop booking platform for International passenger transport. “NIGHT TRAINS TO EUROPE VIA THE CHANNEL TUNNEL ? “ Since the Tunnel opened in 1994 passenger services have been restricted to the daytime Eurostar services. The UK Department of Transport has now said it stands ready to engage with any potential operator of new international(including Sleeper) services if a proposition is made. Can we now hope for Night Trains from London to Berlin or Milan
” ON THE WAY TOGETHER AGAIN” On the 8th June Swiss Railways resumed virtually a full service. Rather than frighten people away from rail they have issued simple easy to follow instructions. These re-assure passengers over their safety both in stations and on the train. Have a look at this link: https://www.sbb.ch/en/campaign/corona.html And they have even restored a limited catering service on Inter City trains ! A WELCOME BOOST FOR INTERNATIONAL RAIL 25 European Countries recently agreed to work together to make Rail “an attractive alternative” over distances from 300 to 800 kilometres. As 23 of these countries are EU member states this initiative will be part of the planned EU Green Deal. Although the UK is no longer an EU
BY TRAIN OR PLANE ? UBS – The Swiss Bank recently published research predicting that post Covid-19 more people are expected to switch travel from air to high-speed rail. They estimate that rail will be competitive for leisure journeys taking up to 6 hours and business travel up to 4 hours. STATE AID FOR TRANSPORT POST COVID-19 : We say that all state aid provided should be conditional on limiting competition between Rail and Air. We were pleased to here that the French Government recently announced conditions on State aid to Air France KLM. They will be restricted in the number of domestic flights they can schedule. This will be for journeys taking up to 2hrs.30 mins where there is a
CORONA VIRUS UPDATE: While train services across Europe are currently severely limited, we will be campaigning for any Government financial support for rail to take priority against any support for the airlines. Our committee still plans to meet on the 10th June in Birmingham, though we may have to make other arrangements nearer the time. DIRECT SERVICE FROM LONDON TO BORDEAUX BY 2022 ? Just before the travel restrictions came into force French Railways(SNCF) announced their intention to run a through service in 2 years time. This was announced at a “twinning ceremony” on the 5th March when London St.Pancras was twinned with Bordeaux St Jean.
LUXEMBOURG : From the 1st March ALL Public Transport in the country became free of charge. This covers all 2nd class travel on trams, buses, funiculars and trains within the country. The Rail network covers 271 kilometers with frequent services serving 70 stations across the country. This makes “Le Grand Duchy” an attractive destination as it can easily reached from the UK, using Eurostar to Brussels and booking a return fare to “Any station in Belgium”. This fare is a bargain as it is only about £10 more than the return fare to Brussels. The journey from London takes just under 6 hours with one change at Brussels Midi. NIGHT TRAINS COULD RETURN TO ZURICH IN 2023 On the 3rd
SOME EUROSTAR NEWS Eurostar announced a new direct return service from Amsterdam to London starting on the 30th April. The service will run twice daily taking around 4 hours and 10 minutes with a stop in Brussels. It is expected that these trains will also serve Rotterdam from the 18th May. AND WE HAVE BEEN NOTICED IN THE PRESS !! Our letter to the New European titled “Back on the Rails” was published on 13th February. We were able to explain the outcome of our January meetings in Brussels and publicise the planned October “Back-on-track” conference – also in Brussels. One of our members also had a letter published in the Financial Times on the same day titled “Couchettes may
A SERIES OF MEETINGS TOOK PLACE IN BRUSSELS At the end of January just before the UK formally left the European Union 3 members of the campaign joined a series of meetings organised through Back-on-Track with a group of MEPs, civil servants from DG Move and the head of The Community of European Railways. We received a very warm welcome at all the meetings that we attended on the 28th & 29th January. As part of the New Green Deal the MEPS are clearly keen to see an expansion of both day and night train services. They are hoping that a new night train from Berlin to Brussels can start before the end of 2020. We found out from DG-Move