Swiss Railways train in Zurich Station
This was the title of the headline letter we had published in The New European on the 12th August which you can read in full below : –
We were very pleased to read Tom Chesshyre’s feature in TNE 254. This provided a critical evaluation of the measures the EU is taking to encourage greater use of the European Rail Network as a low carbon alternative to air travel. It is now quite clear that we face a climate emergency, as evidenced by the sheer number of “record-breaking” fires & floods all over the world. As part of the EU New Green Deal there now seems to be a clear political and financial commitment to improve cross-border long-distance day and night time train services in Europe.
Due to Johnson’s “Hard Brexit” the UK is now effectively cut-off from these plans, and there is no political commitment from the UK Government to improve our rail links with Europe. The UK could, if it had wanted to, have supported The European Year of Rail, like Norway & others , even though they are not EU member states. This is rather ironic, with the UK chairing the crucial COP 26 meeting in November in Glasgow this year.
We are now faced with the sorry spectacle of Eurostar(with no UK Government financial support) running just a few Eurostar trains a day from London to only 5 European destinations , while the airlines(with UK Government support) are steadily increasing their services to destinations all over Europe.
In view of the climate emergency, there is absolutely no reason not to develop better rail links between the UK and Europe. Rail could become our “Green Gateway” to the rest of Europe.