Our campaign got more publicity this month in the letters page of Rail Magazine – here is the text of our letter which was printed in full: The special report from HS1 Ltd published in Rail 938 could be seen as a load of “Greenwash”. They publish a lot of sustainability statistics for 2020-21 which look good on paper but do nothing for the modal shift they claim to want to achieve. For example, the 14% reduction in electricity use is hardly surprising given the reduced number of Eurostar and Javelin trains using the line due to the Covid pandemic. While they are clearly doing a lot of charitable work with other organizations, none of this is likely to result
START OF ” THE EUROPEAN YEAR OF RAIL “ At the end of December the European Union(EU) formally launched this initiative as part of their “Green New Deal” project. There will be a series of events during the year promoting rail. We are also expecting various planned improvements to the rail network to be “speeded-up” during the year. Although the UK is no longer a member of the EU, we are hoping that they will formally support this initiative. Further information at https://europa.eu/year-of-rail/index_en Scientific evidence: rail is Covid-safe The UIC (International Union of Railways) in December published a state-of-the-art document with examples of scientific evidence, case studies and mathematical models that shows that clusters of Covid-19 are rare on public transport
TEE 2.0 (TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS) A plan was recently published by the German Government for “International high speed and overnight rail services to promote climate change mitigation. ” The plan proposes 8 long distance day services and 8 new overnight services across Europe”. Some services could be set up with the current infrastructure and others can be set up once planned improvements to the infrastructure are completed. The plan has also been supported by the European Commission. MORE BAD NEWS FROM EUROSTAR >> Due to the Covid situation they only running two return services a day from London to Paris and only one daily return service to Brussels. We then issued a press release outlining our concerns over the long-term
MORE NIGHT TRAINS PLANNED Both Austrian and Hungarian State Railways have recently ordered new rolling stock for Night trains. The Swedish Government is inviting train operators to run new services from Hamburg to Stockholm and Brussels to Malmo from 2022. Also , from 2022 two new services are planned from Paris to Nice and Paris to Tarbes. This will open up further travel opportunities for UK residents connecting with daytime Eurostar services via Paris & Brussels. Back-on-Track(Belgium) are actively campaigning for Brussels to become the new European Hub for up to 5 different night train services. HOW SAFE IS RAIL UNDER COVID 19 ? Recent research both by German Railways and the UK Rail Safety & Standards board suggest that
” 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/ 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.