Oversigt over forskellige initiativer for at redde nattogene i Europa

>> Friends of the Earth, Sweeden, underskriftsindsamling med appel til DB

Udarbejdet af Bernhard Knierim, Berlin

Let me try to throw a bit more light into the structure of the fight for the night trains: There already is a nucleus for a coalition, but only on the German level so far. It consists of:

1) staff association members of DB European Rail Service (DB ERS) in Hamburg, main contact: Joachim Holstein

2) staff association members of DB ERS Dortmund (which is supposed to be closed down by the end of the year according to DB), main contact: Manuel Poblotzki

3) Bündnis Bahn für Alle (the coalition against the privatisation of the DB AG, which was quite big when the privatisation plans were ongoing - and which consists of 20 organisations like BUND (= Friends of the Earth Germany), Robin Wood, Grüne Liga, Attac, Ver.di, IG Metall, NGG etc. - see www.bahn-fuer-alle.de), main contact: me

4) Bürgerbahn statt Börsenbahn (railway experts around Heiner Monheim, Karl-Dieter Bodack, Wolfgang Hesse, Winfried Wolf and others), main contact: Winfried Wolf

5) staff association members of the S-Bahn Berlin, main contact: Uwe Krug.

It is further supported by:

6) Sabine Leidig, member of the German Bundestag (Fraktion Die Linke)

7) Matthias Gastel, member of the German Bundestag (Fraktion Bündnis 90

/ Die Grünen)

And we had some initial contact to Simon Field (World Carfree Network) - which is how I got onto this list. We are also in contact with more activists in Austria, France and GB. I myself belong to 3, 4 and work for 6 - just to make my role clear here.

So far the coalition is organised through a mailing list [Nachtzug], and I am happy to put everyone on there who understands German.

Last Wednesday we had a first "action day" which consisted of a press conference in the Bundespressekonferenz and the described demonstration at Potsdamer Platz (opposite of the DB tower) with the handing over of 7000 signed post cards for the Night Trains. It resulted in articles on the topic in pretty much any big German newspaper and also in many TV/radio channels, mainly mirroring our view (and not DB's), so it was quite successful. However, I do agree with the criticism that it was a bit lame. The reason for this was that the staff association members wanted to organize the program and we let them do it - and it was a clear need for them to speak out loudly after being pushed around by DB under risk of losing their jobs for quite a while already (which explains the unbelievable and counter-productive length of more than 2 and a half hours...).

But as I said: That was just a starting point, and it has to be improved a lot next time. Further plans now are:

- Keep up the media attention by further actions and revelations of false calculations by DB, which is how they justify shutting down the trains.

- Developing an alternative concept for routes and trains so that we can refer to an alternative that is much better than the remaining night trains today - a clear vision.

- Developing an elaborate publication with the criticism of the DB concept and alternative concepts - giving people ideas what could be done instead of shutting down the night trains.

- On the long run: Extend that to all international trains and not just the night trains...

I hope that this short description makes thinks a bit clearer for everyone in order to understand what has been going on so far.

It would be absolutely great to advance this purely German nucleus into an international campaign - including all the people who have started the different online petitions for different night trains. The night trains are a European affair, and thus we need a European campaign.

I would be very happy to hear/read your ideas on this: Is this realistic, who would want to be part of it, what could we do on the European level?

I think that it would be great to have a physical meeting on the night trains this fall - which we could possibly host in Berlin or in another European city, if anyone would be willing to organize it (which I would prefer!). Such a meeting could be a great opportunity to develop ideas for a European campaign for the sustainment and improvement of a European night train network. That might sound a bit unrealistic at first, but I believe that we have to go this way if we really want to achieve a better European railway network that is a real alternative to EasyJet, RyanAir & Co.

Bernhard Knierim, Berlin

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