Pages in category: Opinion

European Rail News
published on 30 October 2020
Would it not, in these difficult times, be so much better if operators initially open sales only for those trains which would run in the most skeleton timetable? If the pandemic abates, everyone will be delighted to then see operators responding quickly by adding in extra trains to meet renewed demand. We look at the offer of two operators: Eurostar and Thalys.
published on 11 October 2020
Across Europe, and more widely, there are huge variations in the extent to which national rail networks are electrified. With the need to decrease emissions, we look at the state of different countries, pondering both the future as well as taking a look into the past.
published on 29 March 2020
Perhaps a future generation of travellers will look back at the international rail timetables for early April 2020, barely able to believe that Europe could have become so fragmented. But will they even be able to find out what the timetables were? In this digital age, we do just wonder whether scholars a century hence will be able to find copies of the railway timetables which were applicable in this difficult period.
published on 16 May 2017
The surveys of passenger numbers which underpinned Richard Beeching’s 1963 report on the future of Britain’s railways were conducted in the last week of April 1961. So it is interesting to look at the pattern of train services which prevailed at that time.
published on 31 July 2014
With rail operators now entering the bus business, let’s take a look at how long-distance coach travel stacks up against the train on a key route in Germany.
published on 18 August 2013
Is Elipsos nearing the end of the line? In late 2012, The Spanish rail operator cut its routes to Italy and Switzerland. What remains are two night train routes: from Barcelona and Madrid to Paris. And with upcoming competition from fast TGV daytime services from Paris to Barcelona, we wonder if Elipsos' days are numbered.
published on 24 December 2012
Here is a thought to ponder as you make those final preparations for Christmas. In Berlin extra trains will run tonight on the city’s rail networks. Switch to London, and the rail network is today beginning to shut down. No trains will run anywhere in Britain on Christmas Day — and all but a handful of routes (in and around London and Glasgow) will be train-less on 26 December.
published on 23 November 2012
Croatia is a country with relatively low levels of car ownership (at least compared with many European countries), and a decent rail network. The country is gearing up to join the European Union (EU) next year, and the EU is pressing Croatia to implement structural reforms in inefficient state-owned industries. And running trains on that network might be deemed a worthwhile public service. But Croatia has deferred so totally to the economic pieties dictated by the IMF and the EU that it is now scrapping many train services.
published on 17 July 2012
In European Rail News yesterday, we highlighted something of the history of InterRail and it drew a number of comments from readers who e-mailed us. "Surely InterRail was so much better in the past, before the days when railway companies started levying supplements for pass holders," is a comment that captures the general tenor of the replies.
published on 16 July 2012
Anniversaries are worth celebrating. And this summer marks the fortieth birthday of InterRail. Yes, it was way back in 1972 that Europe's national rail operators launched a scheme to tempt young Europeans to explore their home continent.
published on 6 June 2012
The new EuroCity train service from Berlin to Gdansk, previewed in European Rail News on 1 May 2012, started today. It is many years since the two cities have been linked by regular daytime trains. The reintroduction of the daytime link between two cities that have an intertwined history is very welcome, yet the one-way fare is ridiculously expensive.
published on 10 April 2011
A few days ago I travelled by train from the Berlin suburb of Lichterfelde to Ewell in England, just south of London. In total I paid €55 for the entire 15-hour train journey of 1393 km. Looking at the different fare components, I see that I travelled across Germany for less than one cent per kilometre.
published on 8 February 2011
Looking back at rail journeys we made in 2010, we would say a December journey with UK operator Wrexham and Shropshire really was one of the highlights. We travelled north from London's Marylebone station on one of W&S' sleek silver and grey trains, sliding through rime-clad Chiltern countryside. So we were perturbed to find that late last month, Wrexham & Shropshire ceased operations.