2021 is the european year of
The European Year of Railways started on March 29, 2021. Although the COVID-19 crisis is limiting travel opportunities, this year the European Union is taking note of the importance of good European train connections. 2021 is the european year of Rail . The goal is to facilitate the achievement of climate goals by facilitating passenger and freight rail transport across Europe post-epidemic.
2021 is the european year of Rail. Stientje van Veldhoven Dutch Minister of State (Infrastructure and Water Management): ‘Train travel is sustainable and comfortable. It is important to join forces on a European scale to facilitate international train travel for travelers. For all destinations up to 700 km, trains should be an affordable and eco-friendly alternative. In the last four years we have made significant progress in this regard. There is a direct train to London, a night train to Vienna, and the intercity train to Berlin will be shortened by 30 minutes from 2024. Nevertheless, it is important to realize more improvements.’
Easy to buy tickets
Together with Norway and Switzerland, 25 EU member states have united on an international rail passenger transport platform. As the European Railway Year began, they came up with some recommendations to encourage international train travel. Today, Secretary of State Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure and Water Management) released these recommendations during the European digital launch of the Year of the Railway.
For example, it should be easier to book international train travel online. It is also important to better align timetables in Member States and to ensure that rail tracks provide sufficient space for international train connections. The Trans-Germany Europe Express 2.0 initiative, an international rail network for connecting European cities by combining high-speed and night trains, could play an important role in this regard. With respect to the Netherlands, the plan seeks more efficient connections to Berlin, Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, Barcelona, London and Copenhagen.
Member States also welcomed the European Commission’s proposal to launch 15 pilot projects that include new and innovative train services. The service is expected to operate until 2030. The final recommendations of the Member States support close cooperation in concluding contracts on international train connections.
To underscore the importance of the European Year of Railways, Secretary of State Van Veldhoven has appointed former European Parliament Member Wim van de Camp as ambassador. He will represent the Netherlands at several meetings.
Wim van de Camp (European Railway Ambassador Year): ‘There are great opportunities in the European railway sector. Rail transport currently accounts for 7% of travelers and 11% of freight in Europe, but is one of the most sustainable modes of transport. On behalf of the Netherlands, I am working hard to achieve this goal this year.’
Due to COVID-19, many meetings are being held online. By the end of the European Railway Year, the Netherlands plans to host a railway summit on international passenger transport with Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.