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22 Sep 2020, 13:47
Alex Dziadosz

Germany’s transport minister pushes for European high-speed train system

Clean Energy Wire / Der Spiegel / dpa

Germany’s transport minister Andreas Scheuer is calling on fellow European ministers to support a system of high-speed and night trains to connect major European cities. The concept, known as “Trans Europ Express (TEE) 2.0”,  aims to connect cities such as Paris and Warsaw or Berlin and Barcelona by improving existing train connections and creating a cross-border European standard, the ministry said in a statement. The overall goal is to give fast, continuous services for long-distance, cross-border travel. “We want to enable climate-friendly travel and clean freight transport,” Scheuer said in the statement. He is pressing to get as many officials and companies as possible to sign on to the proposal in order to get a declaration of intent during Germany’s EU Council presidency. "The technology for this is available," Scheuer was quoted by Der Spiegel as saying after the meeting with fellow ministers.

The TEE 2.0 takes its name from an international railway service that connected Western European cities until it was discontinued in 1987. Under Scheuer’s proposal, the new system would be operated by a new company supported by national railway companies, according to a dpa article carried by Stuttgarter Zeitung. "Our concept will be the basis on which companies can run attractive connections with high-speed trains and night trains." Scheuer said such a network could be in place by 2025 and repeated his call for EU funding programs to make investments and purchases more attractive for railway companies. Challenges to the system’s development would include the different power systems and sales and tariff structures of national rail companies, the report added. Der Spiegel also notes that the TEE 2.0 would be unlikely to compete seriously with air travel, given that the travel frequency was likely to be relatively light.

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