Europe seeks rail reform to rival budget air travel

Posted on March 5, 2004

The European Commission unveiled on Wednesday, plans to overhaul international train services in Europe to keep up with soaring cut-price airlines. The commission's plans would open up competition in cross-border passenger rail links--including high-speed links like Eurostar and Thalys--to spur competition between rival operators by 2010, reported the Agence France Presse. The railways' proportion of the total European passenger travel dropped from 10% in 1970 to 6% in 1998, according to commission data. This decline risks accelerating with the boom across Europe of cut-price airlines, which have transformed the air industry in recent years after its deregulation, said the AFP.

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