Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland are expanding their successful partnership in night train traffic • Strong night train network is an important milestone on the way to the EU climate targets • Four new international Nightjet connections by 2024
Europe should grow closer together – also on the railways. To this end, the already successful cooperation between the four railway companies Deutsche Bahn (DB), the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), the French SNCF and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB-CFF) are to be further expanded. Today, in the framework of the conference of European transport ministers, the four railway directors Dr Richard Lutz (DB), Andreas Matthä (ÖBB), Jean-Pierre Farandou (SNCF) and Vincent Ducrot (SBB) announced their intention to cooperate further.
The first concrete results of this expansion of the cooperation are four new Nightjet lines that will connect a total of 13 European metropolises with one another overnight over the next few years:
December 2021: Vienna – Munich – Paris and Zurich – Cologne – Amsterdam
December 2023: Vienna / Berlin – Brussels / Paris
December 2024: Zurich – Barcelona
The declaration of the four railway companies marks the beginning of the European Year of the Rail. On 1 December, the MEPs of the Transport Committee agreed to dedicate the coming year to strengthening rail transport. A strong rail network is therefore essential in order to achieve the EU’s climate targets. This also includes a strong night train network, which is the key to sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility. Working closely with politicians, the four partner railways have now committed to even closer cooperation at all levels in a clear commitment to night trains.
German Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer: “Get on the train in Munich or Berlin in the evening and arrive relaxed in Paris or Brussels in the morning – with our Trans-Europ-Express TEE 2.0 and attractive night train offers, we will be even more climate-friendly and environmentally friendly in Europe. That is a very concrete result of our rail summit and our EU Council Presidency.”
Austrian Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler: “Night trains are the future of climate-friendly mobility within Europe. It is our common task to provide a good offer for the people in Europe. In order for this to succeed in the long term, the framework conditions for European night train traffic must be well designed in the coming years. I am happy about this common commitment across Europe.”
French Minister of State Jean-Baptiste Djebbari: “We all firmly believe that night trains will play a key role in tomorrow’s Europe. They are environmentally friendly and will increase our citizens’ interest in travelling by train.”
Peter Füglistaler, Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Transport: “I am delighted with this internationally agreed fundamental decision. Now the railways have the political support they need to win over customers with attractive new offers.”
Richard Lutz, DB CEO: “Europe’s leading railways are pooling their forces for the night train. This is a good day for the climate, our customers and the growing together of Europe on the rails. The night train is a business between partners. If every railway were to do ‘a little night train’, nobody would be of any help. The solution is a clear division of labor, embedded in real team play.”
Andreas Matthä, CEO of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB): “Only through intensive cooperation between the railways in Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria can we significantly expand the Nightjet network and thus offer even more climate-friendly mobility in Europe. With Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, Vienna and Barcelona, even more European metropolises will be connected overnight with the Nightjet in an environmentally friendly way.”
Jean-Pierre Farandou, Chairman of the Board of Management of SNCF: “For SNCF, this cooperation is a good opportunity to supplement the national night train service with an international offer. Night trains are historic for the SNCF. The interest and enthusiasm of the passengers and the authorities are great, because these trains are essential for connecting our regions. We are convinced that, together with our European partners, we can benefit from the experience with the Nightjet in order to promote an attractive European night train offer.”
Vincent Ducrot, CEO of SBB-CFF: “The development of international rail connections day and night is an important element for Switzerland. This cooperation allows us to quickly implement our expansion projects. We will expand the offer of night trains from Switzerland from six to ten lines serving 25 destinations by 2024. This is an important contribution to promoting climate-friendly mobility.”