On 2 September, the Connecting Europe Express special train has started its journey across Europe in Lisbon. Until 7 October, it will stop in more than one hundred European cities, among them eleven German: Munich, Stuttgart, Ulm, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt am Main, Leipzig, Halle, Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen and Bad Bentheim. The Connecting Europe Express is a symbol of the importance of rail transport in bringing people and businesses together as well as of the important role of EU infrastructure policy and the Single European Railway Area. On-board the train, talks are planned with politicians and experts on various European transport issues. In the cities, flags will be handed over and events will be held at railway stations. Where longer stops are planned, a special wagon with an exhibition on new rail transport technologies and infrastructure projects in Europe can be visited. The special train, which is an initiative launched in the 2021 European Year of Rail, not only brings together the Portuguese, Slovenian and French EU Presidencies but also many European countries. On 7 October 2021, its journey, which started in Lisbon, will end in Paris. It consists of wagons from railway undertakings from Italy, France, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.
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In Berlin, EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean (represented by Dr Walter Götz, Head of Cabinet) and Federal Minister of Transport and Digital infrastructure Andreas Scheuer will be taking part in a conference on the establishment of a European network for long-distance passenger rail links with cross-border high-speed and overnight services. In Halle, EU Transport Commissioner Vălean (represented by Dr Walter Götz, Head of Cabinet) will visit one of Europe’s most modern train formation facilities together with Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer and Dr Sigrid Nikutta, Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn AG and Chairwoman for Freight Transport of DB Cargo AG, to discuss opportunities and challenges in European freight transport.
“This train is a symbol of the close ties between the countries, cities and citizens of Europe, but also of the joint work ahead of us before rail will become the preferred mode of transport”, said the Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean (represented by Dr Walter Götz, Head of Cabinet). “I would like to thank all partners as well as the Federal Ministry of Transport for their excellent cooperation on this project. I would be delighted if the citizens would welcome the Connecting Europe Express when it stops at a railway station nearby.”
“I can only recommend to everyone that they visit the Connecting Europe Express when it stops near them”, said Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer. “Our TransEuropExpress initiative is also gaining momentum – with cross-border high-speed and overnight services. This is the only way to achieve our climate change targets. Above all, it is necessary to connect major European cities without having to switch trains and make it possible to book journeys via a single digital booking platform. I worked to achieve this during our EU Presidency and will continue to do so.”
Stops in Germany:
|26 September||Munich Central Station|
|27 September||Munich Central Station, Ulm Central Station, Stuttgart Central Station|
|28 September||Karlsruhe Central Station, Frankfurt am Main Central Station|
|29 September||Frankfurt am Main Central Station, Leipzig Central Station, Halle Rail Freight Terminal, Berlin Südkreuz|
|30 September||Berlin East Station, Berlin Central Station, Hamburg Central Station|
|3 October||Hamburg Central Station, Bremen Central Station, Bad Bentheim|
Several conferences on EU infrastructure policy and the role of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) will take place along the route, including in Lisbon, Bucharest, Brno, Berlin and Bettemburg.
The High-Level Conference on the occasion of the stop of the Connecting Europe Express special train will take place at Technikmuseum Berlin on 30 September 2021 from 10:00 to 13:30 hrs under the title “Building a Network of European Long-Distance Rail Services”.
EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean (represented by Dr Walter Götz, Head of Cabinet) and Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer will open the conference.
The first panel discussion will focus on: “Removing Obstacles to Long-Distance Services”. It will deal with questions such as:
“What are the main obstacles to cross-border long-distance rail services?”, “What are the participants doing to overcome these obstacles?” and “What is expected from Europe in this respect?”.
The second panel discussion will focus on “The Role of Rail in Sustainable Mobility”.
The issue of sustainability is to be examined in all its facets (environment, society, finances and economy).
In the third panel discussion, short presentations on “New Initiatives in Cross-Border Rail Transport” will be held by stakeholders, who will highlight recent developments in cross-border long-distance rail services and the strategies taken to develop their respective business models against the backdrop of the Fourth Railway Package aimed at increasing competition.
All panel discussions will be facilitated by Kristian Schmidt, Director for Land Transport (Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport).
EU Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean (represented by Dr Walter Götz, Head of Cabinet) and Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer will summarise the results.