Rail alliance calls for speedy expansion of European express and night train services
Clean Energy Wire
German lobby group Rail Alliance has called for a quick ramp-up of cross-border European express and night train services as a way to replace flights and thus combat the transport sector’s effects on the climate. “The goal must be to gradually make climate-friendly travel by train the first choice for all consumers in the EU,” said managing director Dirk Flege. “This is the realistic goal that policy-makers should set themselves in the European Year of Rail.” So far, Europe has not exploited its full potential of growing more connected through rail offers, he said. The group presented a position paper in which it calls for support programmes to make all border crossings usable for electric, not just diesel-powered, trains. It also called on several EU member states, including Germany and Austria, to exempt international train tickets from VAT, so long as the same is true for flight tickets. It also called for an end to the EU-wide tax exemptions for the flight fuel kerosene.
The European Commission has put the focus in 2021 on rail transport with its European Year of Rail initiative. A variety of activities will put rail in the spotlight throughout 2021 across the continent to encourage the use of rail by both citizens and businesses and to contribute to the EU Green Deal goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050.