Brief an die EU-Kommission für eine europäische Nachtzugstrategie

Gestern hat ein breites Bündnis von Verkehrsminister*innen, EU-Abgeordneten, Industrieverbänden und NGOs die EU-Kommission per Brief aufgefordert, eine europäische Nachtzugstrategie auszuarbeiten.

In dem Brief fordern wir insbesondere:

  • Erhebliche Investitionen in die Modernisierung und den grenzüberschreitenden Ausbau der europäischen Bahninfrastruktur
  • Trassenpreise senken, das heißt die Nutzungskosten für das Schienennetz, die gerade in Deutschland sehr hoch angesetzt sind und bis zu 30 Prozent der Betriebskosten ausmachen
  • Attraktivere Darlehen und schnellere Zulassungsverfahren für Nachtzüge (sogenanntes Rollmaterial)
  • Die Ticketsuche und Buchung von Nachtzügen zu erleichtern und Fahrgastrechte zu stärken

Der Brief im Wortlaut:

Urgent Demand for a European Night Train Strategy

Dear President Von der Leyen, dear Executive Vice-President Šefčovič, dear Commissioner Vălean,

We, the undersigned ministers, members of Parliament, civil society organisations, and industry groups call on you to act upon the recent renaissance of night trains and present a European strategy for developing a comprehensive night train network.

Night trains are experiencing a revival throughout Europe, driven by popular demand for a climate-friendly alternative travel option. People are rediscovering night trains as a comfortable way of travelling throughout Europe, both for business trips and vacations. There is a strong public demand for a European night train network as seven out of ten Europeans would consider shifting to traveling by night train.

European institutions are increasingly recognizing the potential of night trains, for example in the Parliament’s own-initiative report on the rail action plan as well as the Commission’s ten pilot projects to boost cross-border rail. However, the comeback of night trains is severely hampered by high track access charges, the financial risks of investing in night train rolling stock, technical barriers between Member States, no proper coordination of timetables between Member States, no long-term security of track access in the form of framework agreements, and the lack of comprehensive booking platforms. We therefore urge you to present a European night train strategy in order to:

  • allocate substantial European and national financial resources through CEF and other financial instruments to modernize the existing railway infrastructure and bridge missing links in line with the TEN-T revision, and ensure the roll-out of ERTMS. Cross-border sections should be the focus of investments.
  • reduce Track Access Charges for international trains, in particular for night trains, including appropriate compensation by encouraging and enabling cooperation and standardisation between Member States
  • ensure fast and cost-effective EU-type-approval of rail rolling stock, including night trains, for use on the TEN-T rail network that has been upgraded to a common standard
  • enable more attractive loans by the European Investment Bank regardless of the applicants size and ownership structure to de-risk investments into night train rolling stock
  • liberate the exchange of data in the European railway system in accordance with the sector, facilitating the booking of tickets for night trains and connecting trains for passengers and businesses alike
  • strengthen rail passenger rights by supporting and improving existing initiatives such as ‘hop on the next available train’ (HOTNAT) and the Agreement on Journey Continuation (AJC), to also work between rail operators.

In taking these measures, we can bring back night trains in our Union, boost sustainable tourism, generate employment opportunities, strengthen our European rail industry, and provide a climate-friendly alternative travel option. A comprehensive European night train network will achieve substantial benefits for European citizens and will strengthen our European values and unity by bringing Europeans closer together.

We ask the Commission President, the Executive Vice-President of the Green Deal and the Commissioner of Transport to show leadership in efforts to realise a greener, more interconnected Europe through a comprehensive European night train network.

Kind regards,

Leonore Gewessler, Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, Austria

Georges Gilkinet, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mobility, Belgium

Francois Bausch, Minister for Mobility and Public Works, Luxembourg

Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg, MEP, Greens/EFA, Member of TRAN Committee

Karima Delli, MEP, Greens/EFA, Chair of TRAN Committee

Jan-Christoph Oetjen, MEP, Renew, Vice-Chair of TRAN Committee

Barbara Thaler, MEP, EPP, Member of TRAN Committee

Thomas Rudner, MEP, S&D, Member of TRAN Committee

Dominique Riquet, MEP, Renew (Vice-Chair), Member of TRAN Committee

Ciaran Cuffe, MEP, Greens/EFA, Member of TRAN Committee

Tilly Metz, MEP, Greens/EFA, Member of TRAN Committee

Jakop Dalunde, MEP, Greens/EFA, Member of TRAN Committee

T&E (European Federation for Transport and Environment)

BT4Europe (European Network of Business Travel Associations)

Allrail (Alliance of Passenger Rail New Entrants in Europe)

CER (Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies)

UNIFE (European Rail Supply Industry Association)

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