by Josephine Cordero Sapién
25 Aug 2020
The French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, has said that France will waive track access charges for the remainder of 2020 and cut them in half for all of 2021, a decision welcomed by the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA).
This French announcement follows a June proposal by the European Commission to allow the waiving or reduction of track access charges as a measure to help the railway industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Both passenger and freight undertakings have seen a huge drop in demand, impacting on the viability of running services.
ERFA is now ‘strongly supporting’ the adoption of the EC Regulation by both the Parliament and the Council. Jean Castex’s announcement, ERFA said, showed that Member States were serious about taking advantage of the freedoms granted by the EC proposal. The proposal importantly earmarks funding to ensure that infrastructure managers also remain properly funded and that infrastructure works can continue undisturbed.
“The announcement by Prime Minster Castex is an extremely positive development for all rail freight operators active in France. We strongly believe that it sends a strong signal to European policy makers that the proposal of the European Commission is fair and appropriate. We encourage all national governments to implement similar measures to assist rail freight undertakings.”
The EC has approved an Italian scheme to compensate rail freight companies for financial damage suffered due to the pandemic.
More people are returning to rail travel post-pandemic according to the latest figures from the UK’s Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
GTR will continue to operate the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail services, having been awarded a new contract by the DfT.
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed in a statement to parliament on 9 February that ScotRail would transfer into public ownership.
In his January column, Jonn Elledge muses about how former non-entity Stratford (London) became Britain's busiest station in 2020/21.
Following ongoing financial problems, NS-subsidiary Abellio will cease operating in Germany, with concessions awarded to other operators.
The ORR has published its Rail Industry Finance report for 2020–21, showing that the sector is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
Deutsche Bahn is applying new requirements for passengers to carry proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
Commuting into London lags behind rest of the UK says RDG, putting the recovery of London’s shops, theatres, restaurants and bars at risk.
A new report says that protecting light rail services is key to ensuring towns and cities recover from the impact of Covid-19.
New figures from the Office of Rail and Road show that UK rail travel started to rebound between April and June 2021.
The amount of freight moved across the Uk's railway has returned to pre-pandemic levels according to new Office of Rail and Road statistics.
TfL's recent ad campaign to get passengers back using its trains and buses is a symptom of its underlying funding woes, writes Jonn Elledge.
Data from the UK rail industry shows bank holiday weekend ticket sales to seaside destinations have surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
A Swiss news broadcaster has accused the FV-DOSTO trains operated by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) of being 'covid catapults'.
The Scottish government is to provide a further £5.6m emergency funding to Glasgow Subway and Edinburgh Trams in response to the pandemic.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has extended GTR’s Emergency Recovery Measures Agreement (ERMA) until 31 March 2022.
Network Rail says that more freight is now being transported across one of its busiest business regions than before the pandemic.
Eurostar has reached a refinancing agreement with its shareholders and banks worth £250m (289.9m euros | 353.9m USD).
UK rail companies have added more than 2,500 daily services to their timetables, which come into play today.
FirstGroup, the company that owns the train operating company TransPennine Express, has agreed a termination fee with the DfT.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has announced 1.69 billion USD in relief funding for Amtrak in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Following increased demand and with the help of Congressional funding, Amtrak will restore daily services to 12 long-distance services.
The USDOT and DART have agreed a refinancing of a $908 million loan for the Silver Line that will save DART $190 million in interest payments.
Following its annoucement of this plan in October 2020 the Welsh government has now taken the Wales & Borders franchise into public ownership.
The Voice of European Railways (CER) says railways in the EU27 made losses of 26 billion euros in 2020 because of COVID-19.
Avlo, Renfe's new low-cost high-speed passenger service that will run between Madrid and Barcelona, will launch on 23 June 2021.
Amtrak's CEO has written to Congress outlining the passenger railroad's five key demands to recover from COVID and expand services.
French transport minister confirms to the National Assembly that France would make sure it supported Eurostar and was in talks with Britain.
There are renewed calls on the UK government to provide support to Eurostar to prevent Britain's only international rail link from folding.
Jure Mikolcic, CEO of Stadler Pankow GmbH, at the VDB Digital Dialog Forum "Rail Revolution 4.0: Picking up Speed after the Crisis".
Train operator Grand Central to resume services from December at a reduced level. These will be reservation-only to enable social distancing.
State aid: the European Commission has approved Austrian measures to support passenger and rail freight affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Railtex 2021, which was to be held jointly with Infrarail in May 2021, has been postponed to 7–9 September because of COVID-19.
Following the funding agreement reached between TfL and goverment, consultancy work on Crossrail 2 will end, safeguarding will continue.
Midlands Voices report by the High Speed Rail Group says the eastern leg of HS2 up to Leeds is crucial for levelling up the country.
The United States has a new president-elect, Joe Biden. But why is he called 'Amtrak Joe'? And what has he said about the importance of rail?
TfL has reached a deal with the UK government over funding for the next six months following collapsed revenues due to the coronavirus crisis.
Because of coronavirus developments, the InnoTrans organisers say they can't provide planning certainy and have postponed the 2021 event.
The Welsh Government is taking the Wales & Borders franchise under public control starting in February 2021 as a result of COVID-19.
London: TfL has agreed with the government that its funding package can be extended by 2 weeks as discussions about future funding continue.
The UK Department for Transport and Arriva CrossCountry have signed a three-year agreement to align the franchise with the ERMAs.
A private rail freight protest train made its way through Berlin to draw attention to the German government's one-sided support of DB.
The UK government is abolishing rail franchising in the wake of coronavirus and has set up Emergency Recovery Measures Agreements (ERMAs).
EU: The Parliament has voted for regulations allowing Member States to authorise infrastructure managers to waive track access charges.
Coronavirus has changed the way TOCs operate in Britain. Gareth Dennis believes this is and should be the nail in the coffin for franchising.
Deutsche Bahn and CRO are conducting a joint study into the risks of contracting coronavirus for conductors on trains.
InnoTrans says that despite having to move the event to 2021 as a result of coronavirus, exhibitor bookings are at 2018 levels.
Rail Live 2020, which was due to take place at Long Marston, UK, on 9 and 10 September has been cancelled. New dates: 16 and 17 June 2021.
The central Crossrail section will not open next summer now as previously promised because of delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Alstom has published its financial results for Q1 of 2020/21, with total orders up compared to the same period in the previous year.
The CER has published a position paper advocating for applying the user-pays and polluter-pays principles across the transport sector.
UTLC Eurasian Rail Alliance says it has seen an increase in mail trains from China to Europe as a result of the restrictions on air freight.
Coronavirus: OEBB will resume its Nightjet sleeper trains to destinations such as Prague, Zurich, Berlin and Venice starting on 26 June.
Rail freight punctuality has increased from 60 percent to 80–90 percent during the coronavirus crisis due to greater network availability.
The German stimulus package has been welcomed by rail groups, saying it will push forward important innovations and provide much-needed funds.
Deutsche Bahn says that despite the coronavirus pandemic less than 1 percent of rail infrastructure works have been cancelled or postponed.
Coronavirus: from 15 June face coverings will become mandatory on public transport in England in line with a further easing of restrictions.
After the German government moved ahead with an ongoing exemption to the lorry toll, rail groups have asked the Bundesrat for help.
Passenger services in Switzerland can resume fully in June following an easing of restrictions put in place because of coronavirus.
Private railway undertakings in Germany want to seek assistance from the European Commission following a DB-only bailout package approval.
There is anger at the coronavirus agreement signed by Deutsche Bahn and the federal government that excludes non-state railways.
Deutsche Bahn has reached a coronavirus agreement with the German government, union, works council and employers' association.
From June Deutsche Bahn will run train services into all neighbouring countries again, following a gradual resumption in May.
2020 has its challenges to the rail sector with the coronavirus pandemic but there has been good news too: HS2 has its notice to proceed.
The Ceneri Base Tunnel opening ceremony is to go ahead as planned in September though on a smaller scale due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rail freight operator Lineas has turned one of its locomotives white to say thank you to all the key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
UNIFE takes a look at the impact of the coronavirus on the rail industry in Europe, both passenger and freight.
An interview with Dirk Flege from rail advocacy group Allianz pro Schiene about Germany's coronavirus measures for the rail sector and more.
Kilsby Tunnel on the West Coast Main Line has undergone major repair works during the coronavirus slowdown to fix track flooding issues.
Transport for London (TfL) has received coronavirus bailout – a mixture of grants and loans from the government worth 1.6 billion GBP.
HS2 says it will pay its suppliers as soon as possible rather than within the contract terms and has asked Tier 1 contractors to do the same.
Talgo publishes its financial outlook and results for the first quarter of 2020 with a solid order book despite delays due to coronavirus.
After a 6-week stop to passenger rail services between Germany and France, the first ICE train travelled from Frankfurt to Paris on 11 May.
Deutsche Bahn reduced its timetable significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. DB Regio services are now back up to 90 percent.
The first test at 275km/h has taken place in the Ceneri Base Tunnel with the ICE-S from Germany. The tunnel will go to SBB on 1 September.
The RSG is launching a survey to inform its decision-making on how the UK rail supply chain can make a full, fast recovery from coronavirus.
TMH's Ivolga EMUs, which operate in Russia, feature an HVAC system that has air-sanitising equipment to kill microorganisms.
Coronavirus: After suspending non-essential works at its manufacturing sites across Canada on 24 March, Bombardier is resuming operations.
Rail services are to return to normal timetables in Western Australia sooner than planned following the coronavirus pandemic.
After it was announced that InnoTrans 2020 had to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the organisers have published new dates.
InnoTrans 2020 has been postponed due to a decision by the Berlin Senate to ban all gatherings of more than 5000 people until 24 October.
With coronavirus restrictions on public life and businesses in Switzerland being relaxed, rail services will increase again as well.
With a loosening of restrictions placed on public life in Germany because of the coronavirus pandemic, more rail services resume operations.
Network Rail's call for more signalling staff to weather the coronavirus pandemic has moved forward with the opening of a training centre.
DB has extended its policy to forego track cancellation charges by four weeks with train operators scaling back services during coronavirus.
InnoTrans 2020 and coronavirus: options about delaying the event or alternative scenarios will be presented in early May.
An easing of restrictions imposed by the Spanish government in response to coronavirus has allowed manufacturing to resume in the country.
Bombardier Transportation has resumed activities at its UK sites in Derby, Ilford and Crewe as well as at its Beglian site in Bruges.
Transfesa Logistics has launched a refrigerated train to transport food, medical and hygiene supplies from Spain to the UK.
The rail industry, associations, and unions have responded to the UK government's approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed.
The first contruction phase on the Naples-Bari high-speed line, between Naples and Cancello, is continuing with safety measures in place.
The UK government has given HS2 Ltd the approval to issue Notice to Proceed to the four main works civils contractors working on the project.
OEBB has seen an increase in demand for its international rail freight services during coronavirus due to border restrictions for lorries.
BLS Cargo says its 2019 results have been positive but it has called the outlook for 2020 'bleak' in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
RB Rail AS has awarded two contracts for the design of two sections of the Rail Baltica project in Latvia. The sections are 94km and 45km.
Deutsche Bahn is continuing its recruitment efforts despite the coronavirus pandemic but has shifted to digital interviews and training.
ERFA and UIP call for European Union state aid measures to be implemented for infrastructure mangagers in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Network Rail says it is moving to immediate payments for its suppliers to avoid cashflow issues and keep the supply chain strong.
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