20 countries sign for Trans-Europ Express 2.0
The plan of the German government for a trans-European network of (night) train connections can count on a lot of support from the European member states. So far, twenty European countries have signed a declaration of intent to participate in the revival of the Trans Europ Express (TEE) from the 1950s. This is apparent from the recently published progress report of the Platform on International Rail Passengers (IRP), in which European transport ministers work together on the improvement of international train connections.
The letter of intent aims to strengthen the European rail network for passenger transport over distances of more than 600 kilometres across several countries, with speeds from 100-160 kilometres per hour. Germany presented the TEE 2.0 initiative during the Third Rail Summit on 17 May. The presentation was also supported by Austria, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Twenty countries have now signed the Letter of Intent.
The report of the IRP also shows the intention to combine other European initiatives to improve international connections as much as possible. For example, the concept of a European regular timetable, called Europatakt, and the Time Table Redesign (TTR) of RailNetEurope.
“TEE 2.0 links should be developed and organised by interested railway undertakings, especially regarding the availability of rolling stock. The discussion between European Commission, EU Member States and RailNetEurope (RNE) on an upgrade of the current European timetable process, based on the Timetable Redesign should take into account the needs and interests of national and international rail passenger and freight transport in an open
access market and should strive for an implementation of the timetable in 2025 as envisaged by RNE.”
According to the transport ministers, the European legislator is asked to promote the development of an international non-discriminatory capacity strategy for the stakeholders for rail passenger transport between nodes based on the integration of national timetables.
Short Haul Flights
Furthermore, the TEE 2.0 concept should be further developed in line with market demand, with the aim, among other things, of attractive travel times and good and reliable connections compared to European short-haul flights.
“Implementing a concept like TEE 2.0 requires removing barriers to launch international services.” Furthermore, the European Commission should submit a proposal, as mentioned in the Smart and sustainable mobility strategy, to set up at least fifteen pilot projects for international train travel. Services that take into account market developments, technological innovations, existing concepts such as the TEE 2.0 and the basic principles of the Single European Railway Area. The platform is preparing a recommendation for these pilot lines.