At the Rail Summit of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, initiated by Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer, numerous EU Member States pledged to support the German TEE 2.0 strategy for international high-speed and overnight rail services.
Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer said:
Travelling through Germany and Europe in an environmentally friendly way by train. This translates into high-speed and overnight rail services that can compete with flight connections. This is what our TEE 2.0 strategy does. Today, we received broad support for this approach from all over Europe.
EU Member States support TEE 2.0 strategy
Minister Scheuer and a large number or European ministers signed Letter of Intent on the TransEuropExpress (TEE) 2.0 strategy proposed by Germany. The EU Member States support the strategy - as a basis for a synchronised European timetable (Europatakt). Inter alia,
- the states promise companies to coordinate cooperation schemes on the development of services, a regular interval timetable and a digital booking platform
- the states ask the EU Commission to propose a funding programme for trains that can be used for cross-border services.
In addition, the Letter of Intent contains a list of numerous possible TEE lines that can be realized in the near future or gradually by the end of the 2020ies.
The German proposal for the TEE 2.0 strategy envisages the following:
- A TEE 2.0 should connect at least three states or two states over at least 600 kilometres.
- A TEE 2.0 should reach a running speed of at least 160 km/h on most of the line or an average speed of 100 km/h over the entire section.
- A TEE 2.0 should offer an enhanced level of comfort, especially free Wi-Fi, catering facilities and possibly sleeping cars/couchettes or other amenities on overnight trains compared with conventional passenger trains.
Already on 13 December 2020, Minister Scheuer inaugurated the new electrified link between Munich and Zurich, which will be the first line to meet all TEE 2.0 conditions.
The cooperation scheme agreed between the four railway undertakings from Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland on 9 December 2020, during the German EU Council Presidency, will pave the way for new overnight rail services and hence new services under the TEE 2.0 strategy:
- From December 2021: Vienna-Munich-Paris + Zurich-Amsterdam
- From December 2023: Vienna/Berlin-Brussels/Paris
- From December 2024: Zurich-Barcelona
To complete the synchronised European timetable (Europatakt), national regular interval timetables will be coordinated – for better connections and a more efficient use of infrastructure. To achieve this, the states are already working closely together. The European infrastructure managers provide support through the EuroLink initiative.
From Berlin via Dresden and Prague to Vienna in 5 hours
At the Rail Summit, Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on upgrading the international line Berlin-Dresden-Prague-Vienna (Via Vindobona). The Memorandum contains the upgrading plans of the individual countries. After the conclusion of all works, journey times are to be considerably shorter:
Berlin - Prague: up to 2 hours and 30 minutes
Prag - Vienna: up to 2 hours and 30 minutes
Berlin-Vienna: up to 5 hours, via express links 4 hours
For the German side, DB Netz AG will implement the necessary measures. The actual upgrading steps include:
- Further upgrading of the line from Berlin to Dresden, including “Dresdner Bahn” (line to Dresden) in the urban Berlin area.
- Upgraded and new high-speed line from Dresden via the German/Czech border to Prague DB is planning to build an Erzgebirge Base Tunnel together with the Czech railway undertaking.
The Letter of Intent is the cornerstone for a high-capacity cross-border European axis. Because of the railway line, the Brandenburg Gate, the Frauenkirche Dresden, Charles Bridge and St. Stephen's Cathedral are moving closely together.
Already under the German Council Presidency during the second half of 2020, the BMVI provided important impetus for European rail transport, presented the TransEuropExpress (TEE) 20.0 strategy and agreed on actual new overnight services with the railway undertakings. (See also: https://www.bmvi.de/SharedDocs/DE/Artikel/K/europaeisches-jahr-der-schiene-2021.html in German only)
Attachments: Letter of Intent TEE 2.0 + MoU Berlin-Dresden-Prague-Vienna