The “Connecting Europe Express”, a special train in the context of the European Year of Railways 2021, will depart from Lisbon station on September 2. During its five-week journey, the train stops in more than 100 cities. The train departs from Lisbon and arrives in Paris on October 7. Among other things, he makes a stopover in Ljubljana, thus symbolically connecting the Portuguese, Slovenian and French presidencies of the Council of the EU.

Several events are planned along the route to welcome the train to stations across Europe. Rail enthusiasts can also follow debates and conferences on board on EU infrastructure policy and the role of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). On the event website you can follow live streams from Lisbon, Bucharest, Berlin and Bettembourg. The Connecting Europe Express is the result of a unique collaboration between the European Commission and the Community of European Railways (CER), European rail operators, infrastructure managers and many other partners at EU and local level.

Background

The Connecting Europe Express was made possible through the joint efforts of partners from the European rail sector and institutions at EU, national and local level. Due to the differences in gauge in Europe, the Connecting Europe Express will actually consist of three trains – the Iberian train, the standard train and the Baltic train – which will alternate on the route. This points to the lack of interoperability between some parts of the European rail network, but also demonstrates the excellent cooperation between railway companies and infrastructure managers.

The carriages have been made available by various European railway companies. In one of these carriages, provided by MAV (Hungary), the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (Cinea) and the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking are organizing a mobile exhibition. The exhibition is about the many existing technologies and innovations that enhance the rail experience, and how the EU supports infrastructure projects. Furthermore, the standard train consists of a conference car (provided by SNCF, France), two standard seating cars (DB, Germany, and SBB, Switzerland), a dining car (FS, Italy) and a sleeping car (ÖBB, Austria). The Iberian train traveling between Portugal and Spain has been provided by the Spanish operator Renfe, while the Baltic train is operated by the Lithuanian LTG.

As the pandemic is still ongoing, safety is central to the organization of all activities around the Connecting Europe Express. Some events will be streamed live, and train enthusiasts are encouraged to welcome the train at certain stations, the European Commission said.

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