As 2021 has been designated the “year of the railways”, the EU decided that a symbolic train, called the Connecting Europe Express, will cross Europe for more than a month, departing on Thursday from Lisbon and ending on October 7, in Paris.
Connecting Europe Express will travel across the EU and stop in most European capitals to promote the many benefits of rail – for passengers, freight and the environment. It will travel over 20,000 km, pass through 26 countries and stop in over 100 localities, the European Commission announced on Wednesday.
The train leaves its route on September 2, from Lisbon, at 15.51, from Lisboa Oriente station and the first stop will be almost four hours later in the Portuguese city of Covilhã. The train will end on October 7, at Paris Est station.
The train will also make a notable stop in Ljubljana, connecting the Portuguese, Slovenian and French Presidencies of the EU Council.
In Romania, the train will arrive on September 17, entering Giurgiu. He will then stop in Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu, Oradea and Arad and will leave the country on September 18, in Curtici.
Along the way, various events are planned to greet the train at the stations where it will stop in Europe. Rail enthusiasts will also be able to watch the debates on board, as well as conferences on EU infrastructure policy and the role of the trans-European transport network, which will be broadcast live on the event’s website in Lisbon, Bucharest, Berlin and Bettembourg.
The project will also raise awareness of the importance of financing sustainable infrastructure such as rail, and EU support for such investment, including through the recently agreed new Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), worth €33.7 billion, as part of the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027. The train’s journey is possible thanks to good cooperation between European rail operators and infrastructure managers.
Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: “The Connecting Europe Express will be a real, tangible example of the power of rail to connect. At each of the almost 40 stops, events will bring together the rail sector at large, as well as civil society organisations, local and regional authorities, and the wider public, to discuss the benefits of rail, as well as what still has to be done so that rail can become the number one option for passengers and business.”