The train has sailed… or has it not?
Yes, we know: You can always discuss which form of transport is the most sustainable to reach a specific destination. There are so many factors to be considered. But this one is good news for travelling Europe: The European Commission announced an action plan to boost long-distance and cross-border passenger rail.
Maybe you have already discovered by yourself: It can be quite challenging to find and book cross-border rail connections. Flights are much easier to research and organise. This has to change!
You might have asked yourself :
- Where do I find connections?
- Where and how do I book?
- What’s the best price?
- If I owned a national rail pass, would it be applicable for international connections?
- Can I take my bike on board? If required: where can I book a reservation for that?
- and it continues…
The action plan can help to solve these challenges. Not only by increasing the number of connections, but also by harmonising standards, data switches, prices and the combination of services across Europe.
There are new services and businesses emerging, cheering competition and improving possibilities. We have made some interesting contacts during an ITA event in Zurich where Swiss Railway SBB and startup simpletrain not only presented their approaches but were also open to discussing existing problems of cross border connections. By the way, there are some helpful apps specialised on finding and booking cross boarder connections, such as trainline or raileurope.