AMSTERDAM – More and better international is indispensable in combating climate change, but there are still some problems with train traffic along the way. To draw attention to this, the Connecting Europe Express travels through the European Union for weeks as an example. Next Sunday, October 3, that special train will arrive in Amsterdam at 13:33.
At Amsterdam Central Station, outgoing State Secretary Steven van Weyenberg (Infrastructure and Water Management) together with Egbert de Vries (Alderman for Transport and Traffic Amsterdam), John Voppen (CEO ProRail) and Marjan Rintel (CEO NS) welcomed the train with open arms. An exchange group of politicians, MEPs, EU policy makers and representatives of airlines and infrastructure managers will be on board. On the way from Bad-Bentheim to Amsterdam, acceleration to and from Germany is central.
“Traveling through Europe by train also feels like going on an adventure. And while everyone likes a nice adventure, European train journeys should be less adventurous. If you are going on a business trip or visiting family abroad, you want to get to your destination in a reliable and easy way. That is why the Netherlands is committed to making it possible to book an international international trip online and to ensure that timetables are better aligned,” said State Secretary Steven van Weyenberg (Infrastructure and State)
Obstacles along the way
The Connecting Europe Express provides better insight into the obstacles associated with a train journey through Europe. For example, the route through the 26 different countries can only be made with three different trains, because the infrastructure along the way is planned in advance. The train left Lisbon on September 2 and will reach its final destination in Paris on October 7. The train covers a total distance of 20,000 kilometers, crosses a border 33 times and stops a total of more than 100 times.
“The train, although more than 200 years old, is the most sustainable means of transport we have. More and better international train traffic is indispensable in combating climate change. Fortunately, all parties, including the European Commission, agree on this. Now is the time to tackle payment: international tickets have to be bought and we have more and faster rail to the Ruhr area for better European connections,” says Marjan Rintel, CEO of NS.
2021 European Year of Railways
The Connecting Europe Express runs in the context of the European Year of Rail 2021. With this initiative, the European Union wants the train – both for passengers and goods – as an environmentally aware, innovative and safe means of transport. The initiative fits in seamlessly with the European Green Deal, in which more public transport is one of the pillars of plans to improve the well-being and health of people in Europe.
“The train is a much cleaner alternative for short flights. However, in order to give international rail traffic a fair chance, there must be a level playing field in terms of costs and use. For this, cooperation at European level is crucial,” according to Egbert de Vries, Alderman for Transport and Traffic Amsterdam.
Climate train to Glasgow for COP26
The arrival of the Connecting Europe Express is the start of a month full of attention to the contribution that the rail sector can make to solving the climate problem. The COP26 Climate Summit will start in Glasgow on 1 November. ProRail, NS, Eurostar, Avanti West Coast and Youth for Sustainable Travel will run a special Climate Train to this summit on 30 October.
“Rail is at the heart of our fight against climate change and we are expanding our efforts to fuel economic recovery after the pandemic by establishing a carbon neutral transport sector. The Connecting Europe Express is a testing ground and place for public debate on how rail can become the preferred mode of transport for both citizens and businesses. I hope that Dutch citizens and businesses will start this discussion when the Connecting Europe Express comes to the Netherlands,” said Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport.