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Railwatch 087 - March 2001

Euro co-operation

By Trevor Garrod

RDS has been busily developing its links and co-operation over recent months with like-minded bodies on the continent.

RDS delegates met with representatives from our sister organisations in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany and Austria.

The second international rail users' meeting took place in Lille, France, on 4 November and was attended by John Barfield, Trevor Garrod, David Croote, Howard Thomas and John Pitcher.

A joint communique was agreed, and each national or regional association undertook to distribute this in its own country and use it with politicians and railway operators.

We agreed to press for a fiscal system which discourages superfluous journeys across Europe by road transport and encourages fairer costing of public transport.

We also called on European politicians and rail operators to give binding declarations over the future of long-distance rail travel.

Issues of cross-border fares, simpler ticketing, accessible information, connections and passengers' rights must also be addressed.

It all boils down to the aim of Easy Rail Travel in Europe which is the title of the European Rail Passenger Conference to be held in Paris on 28 April.

RDS is closely involved in arrangements for this event, which is expected to include reports back from lobbying by the various national associations and detailed discussions on issues such as creating a level playing field for rail.

Other topics will include the scope for harmonisation of ticketing, fares and other aspects of rail travel, and how rail can win a greater share of the long-distance international market.

In the meantime, the European Commissioner for Transport has let it be known that she would welcome a joint approach by the rail users' associations from the various countries and moves are afoot to organise this.

RDS has also formally joined the Association Europeenne pour le developpement du transport ferroviaire (AEDTF), which brings together voluntary bodies and the railway industry.

We hope to be able to benefit from, and contribute to, their work.

Railwatch - Connex in Austria

Today's rail companies are often multinational. The French company Connex, which runs train services in south-east England, has expressed an interest in operating certain rural lines in Austria.

At the request of our Austrian sister organisation, Fahrgast, general secretary Trevor Garrod has sent them information about Connex in this country and about the relationship between our private rail operators and the state.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

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