Starting from January 1, 2021, the European Union officially has the Year of Rail. This is an initiative of the European Union targeted at making our transport more sustainable, smart, and safe. Moreover, the train is a comfortable means of transport when traveling in Europe. As distances between big cities and even capitals are often not big, it is important to promote trains as a valuable alternative to aviation.
There will be a series of activities throughout 2021 in different parts of the EU. Targeted at both ordinary tourists and businesses, these events will encourage everyone to use trains more often. Additionally, the European Year of Rail is a part of the global EU Green Deal, a large program to make the continent climate-neutral by 2050.
What do modern travelers want from transport? They want it to be safe, comfortable, sustainable, and inexpensive. Rail has all these features and can offer even more! Of course, tourists from other continents may need to fly to get to their hotel in Paris or Madrid but after that, it is so convenient to travel to another city or even European capital by train. The main aim of the European Year of Rail is to help tourists rediscover this mode of transport. Although slower than aircraft, the train is so much fun and gives so many opportunities.
Currently, the total gas emissions of trains in the EU are less than 0.5% of all greenhouse gas transport emissions. This fact only underlines the importance of the development of this mode of transport. The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is a developed chain of railroads suitable for leisure or business travel, as well as freight transport. Rail is known for its exceptional safety, nevertheless, the share of this transport mode is only 7% and 11% in passenger and ware travel respectively. If we manage to increase this share, we can significantly cut down transport pollution in the EU.
The European Commission launched a special website for the Year of Rail. It will highlight various events and activities in the EU, covering the history and importance of rail through the centuries, current sustainable tourism initiatives, relations with neighbor countries, the role of trains in the culture and heritage of Europe, and much more. This is the first stage of the 4-year-long plan to make trains more popular across the continent.