EU to back new cross-border pilots by European Sleeper, SJ, Eurostar, among others
The European Commission will support 10 pilot project for new cross-border services and the improvement of existing ones, it announced on Tuesday. Among the proposals selected are those by night train startup European Sleeper, the Hungarian Ministry of Transport, Midnight Trains, Flixtrain and SJ, though no financial EU support is part of it.
As previously alluded to by European Sleeper in comments to RailTech’s Dutch sister publication SpoorPro, the startup will receive backing for its plans to explore a new night train service between Amsterdam and Barcelona. Another new night train operator, French company Midnight Trains, received the Commission’s nod for a proposed service between Paris and Venice via Milan.
Meanwhile, SJ’s plan for a Stockholm-Berlin night train is included in the plans for better connections between Germany, Denmark and Sweden that the Commission will back. Those efforts will also see Snälltaget’s night train between Stockholm and Berlin receive backing, as well as České dráhy’s initiative for a new service between Prague, Berlin and Copenhagen that is seeks to operate in cooperation with DB and DSB.
The Commission also listed the plans of Hungary’s ministry of Transport to upgrade and expand its connections with Austria and western Romania among its proposals to support. Related to that, WESTbahn will set up a new service between Munich and Budapest via Vienna.
Also listed for backing are the Flixtrain proposals for services between Munich and Milan and the Leipzig – Berlin – Copenhagen– Stockholm train. The same goes for the efforts on the part of Eurostar and Dutch Railways (NS) to improve the Amsterdam-London service. Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and Deutsche Bahn, on their part, aim to rollout new services between Rome and Munich and between Munich and Milan. Further south, ILSA’s plans for new services between Lisbon and A Coruña and between Lisbon and Madrid were green lit. Finally, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya wants to create new services Catalonia and the South of France, and the Commission agrees.
“While demand for green mobility is growing, we need the rail market to respond much better and much faster, especially for long and cross-border journeys. This is why the European Commission now wants to help rail companies create new international train connections – by day and by night – by breaking down the many barriers to cross-border rail”, European Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said upon the announcement. There is no dedicated funding for the pilot services, but it revolves around addressing obstacles to launch the services. Assistance could be provided, for example, in the form of coordination of stakeholders and assessment of compatibility with the legal framework, it was said in the a Q&A when the application process for the pilot project was launched.