PRESS RELEASE der ERFA: Intercity prize for new entrant shows the benefit of competition above tracks

14.11.2014

ERFA congratulates one of its passenger members Westbahn for wining prestigious ‘European Inter City Operator of the Year’ award at the European Rail Congress 2014 held in London this week.

Julia Lamb, ERFA secretary General, comments ‘this success demonstrates that competition above rail as achieved by Westbahn brings better service quality and competitive prices on an important intercity route Salzburg – Vienna.’

ERFA believes that fair competition above rail for both passenger and freight traffic brings innovation, better service quality and competitive prices, leading to investment and growth. That is why taking forward the 4th Railways Package as a whole, with the Governance and technical pillars together, is necessary.

The Transport Council meets on 3rd December to discuss the way forward; they should note this success of one of the few independent intercity operators, Westbahn, and must have the courage to do what is needed to create a genuine single market for rail. Backdoor cooperation agreements between Infrastructure Managers and their incumbent operator, as proposed by some member states, must be avoided. These would perpetuate all the problems that new companies face when trying to enter such monopolistic markets.

ERFA’s paper on cooperation agreements is attached.