European Commission announces ‘Connecting Europe Express’ timetable
As part of the European Year of Rail, the special ‘Connecting Europe Express’ train will cross the continent and demonstrate in real time the power of rail to connect people and businesses.
Beginning its journey on 2 September 2021 in Lisbon and stopping in more than 40 cities in 26 countries, the Connecting Europe Express train will link the Portuguese, Slovenian and French Presidencies of the Council of the EU, arriving in Paris on 7 October 2021.
The project is to serve as a reminder of the lack of interoperability between some parts of Europe’s rail network, and will comprise, in reality, of three different trains that fit the different gauges used in Europe. But it will also demonstrate the very good cooperation in place between railway undertakings and infrastructure managers. Involved in the project is the European Commission (EC), the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), European rail operators, infrastructure managers and numerous other partners at EU and local level.
Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, said: “Crisscrossing the continent, from Lisbon to Bucharest and from Berlin to Paris, the Connecting Europe Express will follow routes that bind us together – whether as countries, businesses or people. While a symbol for connectivity, this train also serves as a reminder that we still have a long way to go and much work to do before rail becomes the transport option of choice for Europeans.”
The Connecting Europe Express running on the standard gauge will have six coaches. Two will host mobile exhibitions on the many technologies and innovations already improving the rail experience, and on how the EU supports infrastructure projects. A conference, sitting, dining and sleeping coach will complete the train.
A separate train will run on the Iberian gauge in Portugal and Spain, and a third one on the Baltic gauge in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Both trains will meet with the standard gauge train along the route.
Andreas Matthä, CER Chair and CEO of Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), emphasised: “Travelling through 26 European countries, the Connecting Europe Express is proof of the importance of the European Year of Rail. I thank all CER members for their involvement in this key project with the European Commission. In order to achieve our climate targets, we need to further strengthen the vitality of rail with more international long-distance passenger rail services and we must also consistently shift freight transport to rail.”
At each of the stops, events and other activities, adapted to local COVID-19 measures, will shine a light on the key role that rail plays for our society, but also on the challenges that rail must still overcome to attract more passengers and freight.
Cargo, Freight & Heavy-Haul, Infrastructure Developments, Interoperability & Liberalisation, Operational Performance, Passenger Experience/Satisfaction, Regulation & Legislation, Route Development, Timetabling/Scheduling