International rail passenger transport is of fundamental importance to the movement of people across borders in the ECE region. Its central role was highlighted in Inland Transport Committee Resolution No. 264. The COVID-19 pandemic offers, beyond its negative economic impacts that remain to be recovered from, the opportunity to reconsider the role of rail transport in the ECE region and further promote it in the post-pandemic recovery.
The workshop dedicated to “The development of international passenger rail transport in the context of ITC Resolution No.264”, held during the seventy-fourth session of the Working Party on Rail Transport on the 18 November 2020, provided an overview of the situation of international passenger rail transport in the ECE region and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It showed that joint efforts are necessary at several levels and in various fields: at the national level where investment in infrastructure and rolling stock, improvement of passenger services are necessary, and at the regional and international level, where border crossing formalities often need to be harmonized and simplified.
In the ECE region, the current focus on sustainability in the transport sector may offer the opportunity to national, international and private stakeholders to participate in the development of international passengers rail transport by giving a special attention to intermodality, with the aim to get a seamless network, more efficient and attractive.
It was agreed that international rail passenger transport needs to be developed further and facilitated by the creation and implementation of appropriate legal instruments at a Pan-European level.