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The Future of Passenger Rail
38 minutes | Jul 13, 2020
ALLRAIL members on The Comeback of Night Trains in Europe
17th June 2020 • Aleš Ondrůj, Senior Director Communications, RegioJet • Carl Adam Holmberg, Head of Snälltåget • Nick Brooks, Secretary General ALLRAIL • Barbora Mičková, Policy Officer ALLRAIL Night trains must be an attractive alternative to driving and flying, especially in the recovery period after COVID-19. In the video, we discuss new night services of privately-funded operators, but also barriers to entry. On June 16th, 2020, Snälltåget announced that in 2021 it will operate its night trains between Sweden and Germany via Denmark for the first time. Furthermore, it plans to quadruple the number of night train departures compared to 2019. Then, only 10 days later, Snälltåget also announced a new direct night train service between Sweden, Denmark, and several ski resorts in Austria – to provide an alternative to air and private car travel for holidaymakers. RegioJet launched a new summer night train service linking 5 EU Member States – the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. The inaugural trip took place on June 30th, 2020. Despite being formed of 12 coaches, demand has been so great that only last week it doubled the frequency of the trains. RegioJet also plans to start night trains between Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland later this year.
42 minutes | May 13, 2020
ALLRAIL: PASSENGER RAIL AFTER COVID-19: Update from the Member States
Mats Johanesson CEO of MTRX: “We are heavily affected. We are losing over 90% revenues but still have high degree of fix costs. So far in Sweden, there has been no aid approved for rail, whereas the credit guarantee scheme in amount of EUR 455 mil. to support airlines affected by the coronavirus outbreak was approved already a month ago. “All of the transport sector is affected, aid to rail has to go in the same pace as for the others sector” adds Professor Andrea Giuricin who works for Italo “99% of the demand is gone. Economic measures for rail have to be taken to support the most sustainable mode of transport” Best practice so far is in Austria: WESTbahn’s Ines Volpert explains how the government introduced a Temporary public service obligation (PSO) not only to the state-owned incumbent ÖBB but also to privately owned WESTbahn. Getlink’s François Coart states: “the aviation industry received immediate support. But it is the rail sector which really contributes to the goals of the EU Green Deal; it must get equal attention from the EU Member States” ALLRAIL’s Secretary General Nick Brooks sums up: “the following principles must be adhered to when allocating financial support for operarors and ticket vendors: 1. It must cover lost income through of a direct grant (i.e. Temporary PSO) or a credit guarantee. 2. There should also be a reduction in access charges to state-owned track infrastructure, in order to reduce the high level of fixed costs 3. Any financial framework - including Recovery Fund & MFF - must be made fairly available to all passenger rail companies in urgent need of liquidity or long-term financial tools, irrespective of their ownership (state or privately owned) 4. The prioritisation of applications for financial support should be based on the carbon footprint and contribution to EU climate change objectives. To conclude: a Single European Rail Market will provide prosperity and help the EU to reach its ambitious climate change goals. However, with privately owned rail companies going into bankruptcy, we risk that it will become out of reach – for ever. We call on stakeholders to provide immediate COVID-19 aid programmes for the passenger rail industry.
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