For Journalists & Press

The deregulation of the European railroads - what it will mean for REI & the North American traveler

REI Official Statement 12/10/09

As of January 1, 2010, under EU Directive 2007/58, European Union regulations will for the first time, allow all rail operators to compete with one another for passengers on international routes. While cross-border train connections have existed in Europe for many years, under the new deregulation rules, both national and privatized railroads will be able to operate trains across borders and pick up new passengers outside their home countries en route to their final destination. The new legislation allows trains owned by any European railroad to operate their trains along the tracks of other European Union member countries. Rail Europe Inc. is a U.S. based company owned by the national railroads of France and Switzerland. It is the largest distributer of European rail products in North America and uniformly represents 35 European railroad operators in that territory. The deregulation of the European railways allows Rail Europe Inc. to pass on many rail travel benefits to the North American traveler, for example:

  • Pricing on rail journeys will become more competitive – Rail Europe Inc.’s dynamic pricing system allows us to display the lowest available fares
  • More seats will be available on more trains - this will be especially valuable to Rail Europe Inc.’s customers during peak travel seasons
  • A wider variety of rail products will be available
  • Increased diversity in services available on board

Train travel currently owns a greater market share on most European short haul routes. On journeys under 3 hours, trains own approx 70% market share Vs air and as much as 90-95% on journeys less than 2 hours.

The expansion plans for high speed rail routes and services, makes long term economic and environmental sense. Electric-powered high speed rail is an eco-friendly solution in an era of climate change and oil shortages. Travelling by high speed train generates 10 times less green house gas emissions than flying. Rail Europe Inc. believes that the spirit of train travel is about enjoying the simple pleasures, respecting the environment and connecting with people, places and cultures. We encourage you to make the train a part of your next European experience.