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Revival of Trans Europe Express ‘key to EU’s carbon neutrality’

The resurrection of a 1960s network of direct rail routes between major European capitals called the Trans Europe Express is key to achieving carbon neutrality in the EU by 2050, according to a report funded by the German federal government.

Due in large part to the development of short-haul flights, 149 of the 365 cross-border rail links that once existed in Europe were non-operational in 2018, with rail now accounting for just 8% of all passenger travel in EU member states.

The joint report from environmental organisations in Germany, Poland, Spain and France, and financed by the German environment ministry, says direct connections in between capitals such as Paris and Berlin could make a major contribution to lowering carbon emissions.

The German transportation minister, Andreas Scheuer, had tentatively suggested in September that the network of routes that thrived in the 1960s and 70s might be the design for a new set to connections from 2025.

The Trans Europe Express was a first-class-only service introduced in 1957 that at its peak served more than 31 various routes, consisting of direct connections in between key European capitals.

Its high-end trains stopped running in 1995 as it lost to short-haul flights and national governments’ desire to buy domestic high-speed rail. After 2000, train operators also needed to pay track gain access to charges as they cross borders that were typically prohibitively high.

The report from Germanwatch, Poland’s Civil Affairs Institute, France Nature Environment, the Eco-union in Spain and the pan-European NGO Transport & Environment, keeps in mind that a flight from Paris to Berlin causes a minimum of six times the CO 2 emissions of a train journey.

Intra-European flights on ranges less than 1,000 km (621 miles) are approximated to develop 28 metric tonnes of CO2 every year. Seventeen of the 20 most frequented air paths in Europe are for distances less than 700km (434 miles).

” In theory, almost all of these journeys could be moved to rail,” the report states.

The paper claims Europe’s railways are not more than a patchwork of nationwide systems. The majority of services stop at the border, or end just on the other side, forcing tourists to change trains a number of times to get from one capital to the other, it is said.

The report proposes direct rail connections in between Warsaw-Vilnius, Warsaw-Prague, Berlin-Copenhagen, Berlin-Brussels, Berlin-Paris, Paris-Madrid and Madrid-Lisbon.

It is claimed that oftentimes the existing facilities would permit the brand-new routes to end up being operable and that it is a matter of enhancing the coordination of schedules.

” What is required is a European spirit in preparation and management of rail services, and start-up assistance for brand-new international services. In the 1960s and 70s, a network of direct transcontinental services connected Europe throughout borders– the Trans-Europe Express (TEE),” the report states.

” This joint endeavour of French, German, Swiss, Dutch, Belgian, Luxembourg and Italian railways just provided first-class services and only connected a variety of countries in western and main Europe; however, the idea may serve as a beginning point. TEE trains just stopped at major cities and were often arranged to enable travellers to do a roundtrip in a single day.”

The report likewise says company ought to share more data which one-stop-shops need to be established to enable travellers to book tickets with the assurance they will not be liable for missed out on connections.

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