SWEDEN — Europe’s seeing a rail revival, thanks to travellers bypassing airlines amid escalate climate concerns, as well as using the trains as a more convenient alternative to short-haul flights.
French, German and Dutch lawmakers are in discussions to banning short domestic and international routes which are already served by high-speed trains. In terms of reducing carbon footprints, rail travel cuts emissions by up to 90% as compared to flying.
To encourage buy-ins, Germany has cut rail fares by 10%, while the country’s Green Party is also pushing to end tax exemption on aviation fuel so the funds can be rerouted into train travel instead.
After nearly two decades, Austrian Railways (ÖBB) has finally put the Brussels-to-Vienna overnight train back into service again, the company also announcing plans to expand hotel-like amenities into their 27 overnight train routes by 2022.
In Sweden, Trafikverket, Sweden's rail infrastructure manager has made known plans for more overnight sleeper trains, including the route from Malmö in the country's south, picking up passengers in Copenhagen, before moving onwards to Germany’s city of Cologne. This can be followed with further connections to other European countries the likes of London, Munich, Paris and Amsterdam.
Possible longer-term cities in talks to be added into direct destinations for sleepers include Frankfurt, Berlin, Basel and Brussels.
Trafikverket calls it a “first step” to adding more direct rail connections for overnight passengers, even as the Swedish government looks to offer convenient alternatives to short-haul flights.