European Year of Rail: Connecting Europe Express – All Aboard!
By Aoileann Ní Bhroin
Posted: 2 September, 2021
The ‘Connecting Europe Express’, a special train put together as part of the European Year of Rail 2021, will pull out of Lisbon train station today (2 September) on a five-week journey stopping at more than 100 towns and cities. The train will end its trip in Paris on 7 October 2021.
The project which was made possible by partners from the European railway sector and institutions on EU, national and local level will take in 26 countries and cover 20,000km. It will make a notable stop in Ljubljana, connecting the Portuguese, Slovenian and French Presidencies of the Council of the EU.
Along the route, various events are planned to welcome the train at railway stations across Europe. Rail enthusiasts can also follow debates happening on board as well as conferences on EU infrastructure policy and the role of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), that will be livestreamed via the event website from Lisbon, Bucharest, Berlin and Bettembourg. The Connecting Europe Express is the result of unique cooperation between the European Commission and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), European rail operators, infrastructure managers and numerous other partners at EU and local level.
CER Chair and CEO of Austrian Federal Railways, Andreas Matthä emphasised the significance of the joint project: “The Connecting Europe Express is impressive proof of the success of the European Year of Rail, at the same time it points out our joint challenges ahead. CER members are committed to make the Green Deal a success. A strong European railway sector is vital for achieving the EU climate targets. Currently there are too many technical barriers in cross-border rail transport and it is very complex to run a train across national borders in Europe. We need to continue to shift freight from road to rail, provide efficient services for daily commuters and expand international long-distance passenger rail transport with day and night services. I am convinced that the Connecting Europe Express will raise awareness of these challenges. I would like to thank all colleagues and partners who made this project possible and wish the Connecting Europe Express a good journey.”
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