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Blue painted Connecting Europe Express at a track in Lisbon.
The Connecting Europe Express at a track in Lisbon on 2 September, before its journey across Europe. Image: European Commission

Connecting Europe Express comes to Austria

On 1 September, the Connecting Europe Express set off from Lisbon after an opening ceremony. The train in its eye-catching blue EU design is an eye-catcher and will travel 20000 kilometres across 26 European countries until its arrival at the final station in Paris on 7 October and can be admired at more than 100 stops. Journalists will be on board and political representatives such as transport ministers will be on the platforms. Events in various capitals where the train will stop during its 36-day journey will create a supporting programme.

Stilisierte Seitenansicht des blauen Connection Europe Express mit Schriftzug
#EUYearofRail Image: Europäische Kommission

The great journey of the blue train is intended to symbolise Europe's plan to make the continent more climate-friendly by expanding the railway and also the solidarity of the European peoples. The EU Commission declared 2021 the European Year of Rail #EUYearofRail, thus confirming its intention to promote the infrastructure and framework conditions for an expansion of the particularly climate-friendly and safe means of transport in order to shift more loads and passengers from road and air transport to rail. In our article, we described the upcoming changes in passenger rights for rail passengers that will apply across Europe from 2023.


There is a need for improvement in the infrastructure, for example in the interoperability between the connection of the national rail networks with the respective foreign countries. For example, the networks in Europe are still equipped with three different track gauges, which means that freight sometimes has to be reloaded in a cumbersome way and puts the railways at a massive competitive disadvantage.

In the specific case of the Connecting Europe Express, three blue trains instead of one have to travel the network in order to complete the route in 36 days. A lot is being invested in the standardisation and increased efficiency of a European rail network across individual national borders. Austria makes the third highest per capita investment per year in its rail network, surpassed only by Switzerland and Luxembourg.

One of the other upcoming improvements is that passengers will receive live information about the location of the trains and real-time information from ticket sellers about the adherence to the timetable and the impact on waiting times, etc. The Express will be connected to the European satellite systems Galileo and EGNOS and will be able to track the exact location on an interactive map - a feature that must be applied to all long-distance trains in 2023. Therefore, the Express is connected to the European satellite systems Galileo and EGNOS, and one can follow the exact location on an interactive map - a feature that must be applied in all long-distance trains in 2023.

Pictogram about "Train delay"

Train delay

Stations of the Connecting Europe Express on a European map
The Connecting Europe Express stops in 26 European capitals Image: European Commission

Coming from Bolzano, the train crosses the Brenner Pass on 9 September in the morning. On its return journey from Slovenia in the direction of the Czech Republic, the train will pass through Austria again two weeks later. Anyone who wants to come to trainspotting in Austria will have the opportunity to do so on these days:

See entries also on this interactive Google map

Thursday - 9.September 2021

  • Innsbruck arrival 10.46 departure 10.54
  • Wörgl arrival 11.33 departure 11.47
  • Salzburg arrival 13.21 departure 14.20
  • Linz arrival 15.40 departure 16.34
  • St.Pölten arrival 17.25



Friday - 10.September 2021

  • St.Pölten arrival 8.54
  • Wien (Hauptbahnhof) arrival 9.32 departure 11.57 

Friday - 24.September 2021

  • Leibnitz arrival 4.25 departure 4.46
  • Spielfeld arrival 15.20 departure 15.32
  • Graz arrival 16.05 departure 16.50


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Outlook on new EU rail passenger rights

Outlook on new EU rail passenger rights

The updated EU rail passenger rights will be implemented in 2023. The agreed changes are a compromise between more far-reaching demands of the EU Parliament and positions of the majority of transport ministers of the EU Council, which in turn include more national and economic interests. All in all, it is a further improvement of rail passenger rights and is on its way to be cast into national laws. Because of the #EuropanYearOfRail, we have a look into the future of rail passenger rights.

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