On the 15th of November, the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management  organized a high level expert meeting for the member states, the EC, and the ERA in Amsterdam to discuss in which ways international rail services for passengers can be further stimulated.

International passenger trains offer travellers the opportunity to travel across Europe in a sustainable way. The international passenger train has the potential to out-compete planes and cars on distances up to 800 kilometres. However, in order to exploit this potential to the fullest, international collaboration is required.

In recent years the Netherlands has experienced an upsurge in demand for international passenger trains, both consumers and transport organisations have called for action. Several member states have shown initiative to promote this topic on the EU agenda. The international train journey is also high on the Dutch political agenda.

The meeting was chaired by Christopher Irwin, EPF Board Member. Speakers included Elisabeth Werner of the European Commission, Jozef Doppelbauer from ERA, Carlo Borghini from Shift2Rail and Wino Aarnink, director of public transport and railways of the Netherlands.

Arriën Kruyt (EPF Board Member) presented the passengers’ views at this event, focusing on the question: What should be improved for international train journeys? Basically, three things:

  • Better consumer-friendly booking systems
  • Higher frequencies are more effective than high-speed lines
  • Better passenger rights

The presentation can be downloaded here.