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Connecting Europe Express departs today from Lisbon

Connecting Europe Express departs today from Lisbon

It will criss-cross Europe as a way of promoting railway travel and bringing attention to issues of connectedness

This afternoon, the Connecting Europe Express will set off from the Gare do Oriente in Lisbon on its trans-continental journey which will conclude in Paris on 7 October. Between these two dates, the Express will zig-zag across Europe and pay a visit to its major cities. The initiative is meant to shine the spotlight on the European Year of the Rail and also bring awareness around issues connected to this type of transport.

The Express will actually consist of three different trains

Europe has a long tradition in railway transportation, which extends back to the 19th century. Already back then this was the most efficient mobility option and throughout the years its popularity has remained strong, even if it has suffered fluctuations, largely due to the advent of personal motorized transport.

After an official send-off ceremony, planned for this afternoon in the Portuguese capital, the Connecting Europe Express will begin its long journey. Along the route, various events are planned to welcome the train at railway stations across Europe. Rail enthusiasts can also follow debates happening on board as well as conferences on EU infrastructure policy and the role of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), which will be live-streamed via the event website from Lisbon, Bucharest, Berlin and Bettembourg.

Connecting Europe Express map

The Connecting Europe Express will zig-zag across the Old Continent for more than a month. Source: European Commission

The Connecting Europe Express is the result of a unique cooperation between the European Commission and the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), European rail operators, infrastructure managers and numerous other partners at the EU and local levels.

Due to the different gauge widths in Europe, the Connecting Europe Express will comprise, in reality, three trains – the Iberian train, the Standard train and the Baltic train – that will meet along the route. The project is a reminder of the lack of interoperability between some parts of the continent's rail network, but it will also demonstrate the very good cooperation in place between railway undertakings and infrastructure managers.

The train composition is also meant to be representative of Europe with various coaches provided by different national railway companies. For example, the dining coach will come from FS Italy, the conference coach from SNCF France, the sleeping coach from ÖBB, Austria, and the standard seating coaches from DB, Germany and SBB, Switzerland.

You can find out when the Express will visit your country or city by following its interactive map and events schedule.

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