by Keri Allan
11 May 2021
On Europe Day, the European Commission announced the route of the Connecting Europe Express as part of the European Year of Rail.
The aim of the train is to demonstrate – in real time – the power of rail to connect people and businesses, and the importance of EU infrastructure policy in making this possible.
Beginning its journey on 2 September in Lisbon, and stopping in more than 40 cities in 26 countries, the train will link the Portuguese, Slovenian and French Presidencies of the Council of the EU, arriving in Paris on 7 October.
“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. 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. Welcome the Connecting Europe Express as it stops at a station near you and join the events taking place around the continent.”
The project involves the European Commission, rail operators, infrastructure managers and numerous other partners at EU and local level. Events at each stop will illustrate rail’s key role and the challenges it needs to overcome to attract more passengers and freight.
Five conferences have so far been confirmed ‒ in Lisbon, Bucharest, Brdo, Berlin and Bettembourg ‒ that will debate the ambitious targets and action plans for rail outlined in the EU’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.
As a reminder of the lack of interoperability between parts of Europe’s rail network, the Connecting Europe Express will have to comprise of three trains in order to fit different track gauges.
The standard-gauge (1435mm) train will consist of six coaches, of which two will feature mobile exhibitions on the technologies that are central to the rail experience and on what the European Union is doing to support infrastructure projects.
The Iberian-gauge (1668mm) train will operate in Portugal and Spain. The final one, a broad-gauge (1520mm) train, will run in the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. Both the Iberian and broad-gauge trains will meet the standard-gauge train during their journey.
“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.”
Citizens and organisations interested in organising an event or activity along the route are invited to share their ideas via [email protected] and a detailed map and regular updates on the Connecting Europe Express can be found at www.connectingeuropeexpress.eu.
At the European DAC Day conference attendees discussed how operational DAC migration can be achieved across Europe by 2030.
ABB will supply Lithuanian Railways with a 25 kV power solution to electrify 730 kilometres of rail track between Vilnius and Klaipeda.
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Adif Alta Velocidad (Adif) has put into service the first of the three sections that will make up the Madrid-Extremadura High-Speed Line.
The EC has approved an Italian scheme to compensate rail freight companies for financial damage suffered due to the pandemic.
Thales has begun drafting the construction project for the installation of signalling on the Eastern Bypass in Valladolid, Spain.
Softronic has chosen Thales to deliver and equip five LEMA 6000 kW locomotives with ETCS Level 2 and PZB vehicle equipment.
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The Connecting Europe Express, one of the feature activities of the European Year of Rail 2021, is visiting TRAKO in Poland today.
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Alstom and Bombardier have announced the expected closing date for Alstom's acquisition of Bombardier Transportation.
Brexit: the European Commission has proposed a regulation giving extensions covering the Channel Tunnel infrastructure and train licences.
State aid: the European Commission has approved Austrian measures to support passenger and rail freight affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement on making 2021 the European Year of Rail.
The European Commission has chosen the FCH2RAIL project to explore hydrogen fuel cells for rail vehicles, using Horizon 2020 funding.
The digital automatic coupling project under the consortium DAC4EU has entered the test phase after 4 different prototypes were installed.
The European Commission said it welcomed the provisional adoption of changes to rail passenger rights in the EU, which it proposed in 2017.
Alstom, as part of a consortium, has won a rail infrastructure project in Romania. This contract, Lot 2, completes the project (Lots 1 & 3).
The EU and EFTA transport ministers have signed the Berlin Declaration voicing their support for the rail freight sector.
EU: The Parliament has voted for regulations allowing Member States to authorise infrastructure managers to waive track access charges.
DB has premiered the first trial of digital automatic coupling technology for its freight wagons in a project that will run until 2022.
The European Commission (EC) is asking for calls of interest as it intends to establish a new partnership on rail research and innovation.
The European Commission has approved the proposed acquisition of Bombardier Transportation by Alstom, following Alstom's commitments.
The German Ministry of Transport has launched a project to test and certify digital automatic coupling. A DB-led consortium will run it.
Rail Baltica has received its next round of funding, with €184 million coming from the EU's CEF, and €32 million from national co-financing.
Alstom plans to submit commitments to the Commission in anticipation of its planned acquisition of Bombardier Transportation early next year.
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Adina-Ioana Valean, the European Transport Commissioner-Designate, had her hearing in front of MEPs on 14 November.
Rail Baltica has announced its tender for the Riga Airport station and associated works. Candidate selection will occur in January 2020.
Von der Leyen has picked her candidate for Transport Commissioner, Romanian politician Adina-Ioana Valean. Her hearing is on 14 November.
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