|Steps to decarbonize the European passenger transport before 2030
With a special focus on how night trains may play an important part in making it possible.
PROPOSAL by Poul Kattler, Back-on-Track, Copenhagen, as input to a meetiing with partner organisations in Brussels in January 2019.
European transport must reduce climate impacts according to the Commission's 2011 Transport White Paper (EC, 2011) and according to the baseline described by European Environment Agency in TERM 2017 (published early 2018) EEA Report no. 22/2017.
Flying is growing, but ought to be reduced rapidly in Europe to meet the climate goals. Trains in Europe can meet the need for most passenger travels - if the railways are developed.
Night trains are needed on long distances in Europe where High Speed Trains (HST) do not exist or where a HST-journey is more than four hours.
Night trains are needed at distances from 600 km and upwards where air traffic does a large part of the transportation today.
Night trains are not just A to B journeys, but a part of a 24-hour international rail network offering good local connections evenings and mornings.
The train has the advantage of offering travel at night in comfort like a moving hotel, offering a choice of levels of comfort.
Competition between rail and other modes is very much welcomed, but on equal terms (level playing field), with same or similar taxes and VAT. It will be even better if taxes take into account the actual climate costs. Steps in this direction must take place before 2030 and will make the following initiatives much easier to undertake.
We need an independent European body which has the responsibility to plan and initiate cross border European direct rail connections day and night.
To make this happen there is a need of:
For international day and night services we need better harmonization of rolling stock, signaling and other equipment.
It must be at least as easy to look up connections and buy through tickets as it is with airline tickets today. The quality must be supervised by the mentioned independent European body.
The time frame
Within the next two years (at the beginning of 2021) an independent European body must be in place and the first PSO contracts be offered from then.