Board of Directors of Russian Railways praises Company’s activity in 2015 to improve efficiency

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The Board of Directors of Russian Railways has conducted a review of the Company’s performance in 2015.

“We discussed the results of our work at Russian Railways in 2015. Despite the difficult economic situation, the Company improved its key performance indicators, maintained reliability and stable operations and made profits and dividend payments to the budget by increasing efficiency. The Board of Directors gave the Company a positive assessment. We hope that the government will support our findings,” said Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman of the Board of Russian Railways and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, after the meeting.

In his turn, the President of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov noted that the Company had reduced costs in 2015 and thus achieved savings of 39.8 billion roubles. In addition, revenues from the sale of subsidiaries amounted to 19 billion roubles.

“We have increased our revenue base and reduced expenditure across virtually all areas of our work,” said the Company’s President.

Eurostar reports strong forward bookings for Euro 2016 as fans take the train to the game

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Eurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, today reports strong forward bookings for the Euro 2016 tournament as football fever kicks in.  With direct high-speed Eurostar services to the main host cities including Lille, Paris, Lyon and Marseille, nearly half a million passengers from across the UK are scheduled to travel during the tournament.

Over the last few weeks Eurostar has seen a surge in ticket sales, with June 10th proving to be the busiest day as the hosts open the tournament in the Stade de France in Paris.  With the successful introduction of Eurostar’s new fleet of e320 trains at the end of 2015, football fans can now connect to the free onboard wifi and entertainment system to follow their team whilst on the move.

Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said:

We have seen an unprecedented demand from football supporters keen to get the Euros by train. With our city-centre to city-centre services and a brand new state-of-the art fleet of trains, we are ideally placed to carry fans from the UK direct to the heart of the action in France.

Challenging first quarter of 2016

The strong bookings for Euro 2016 follow a challenging first quarter of the year. Travellers remain cautious following the terrorist attacks in Brussels and demand is dampened.

The impact has been particularly evident in international markets with Eurostar reporting a slowdown in travellers from the US and Asia. As a result, passenger numbers in the first three months of the year were 2.2 million, a 3% reduction on the same period last year (2.3 million: Q1 2015) and sales revenues were 6% lower year on year (£201 million Q1 2016: £215 million Q1 2015).

Testing for the new London-Amsterdam service

Plans for the launch of Eurostar’s new route between London and Amsterdam are gathering momentum as the new e320 train was tested on the Dutch network for the first time last month.  The journey marked the initial phase of a comprehensive testing programme with commercial services expected to start at the end of next year.

With journey times of around four hours and a city-centre to city-centre service, Eurostar will revolutionise travel between these capital cities offering a comfortable and convenient alternative to the airlines.

Nicolas Petrovic continued:

The start of testing for the e320 on the Dutch network marks a major milestone in the run-up to the launch our new service.  With over 3 million passengers travelling by air between London and Amsterdam, this new route is key to our growth plans.  Our fast, comfortable, point-to-point service is set to transform travel between these important financial and tourist hubs.”

With a lead-in price  from just £29 one way, no additional charges for luggage or seats and a direct link between city centres, Eurostar represents a highly competitive alternative to travelling by plane.   For more information visit www.eurostar.com

“Rail Baltica”: essential decisions should be taken jointly by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia

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High-level transport ministries representatives of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have agreed for closer political level cooperation on “Rail Baltica” railway project in the meeting of 16 May in Riga.

This will facilitate an agreement on intergovernmental treaty, which should structure necessary commitments at the States level implementing “Rail Baltica” fast conventional European gauge railway in all three countries, as well as define basic conditions for completing this strategic project.

Representatives concluded that intergovernmental treaty has to take into account interests of all participating countries and ensure sustainable framework for coordination of actions between the countries.

R. Sinkevičius: I hope that construction works of Phase 2 of Rail Baltica will start soon

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Rimantas Sinkevičius, the Minister of Transport and Communication of Lithuanian considers the key event of the year for European transport – the TEN-T Days  to be another opportunity to discuss the details of further implementation of Phase 2 of the Rail Baltica Project with European politicians and experts.

“This is an excellent opportunity for presenting Rail Baltica. I believe that the project that has been recognised as a priority EU project will receive due attention. I also hope that our neighbours will also start the preparatory and construction works under the Rail Baltica Project which is financed by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)”, says Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius.

It should be noted that Phase 1 of the Rail Baltic Project that has already been completed by Lithuania is considered a success story by the European Commission (EC). A section on the North Sea – Baltic Corridor on the EC‘s website states that, despite recession and lack of funds, Lithuania undertook the construction of the 1435 mm gauge railway and completed the line between the Lithuanian-Polish border and Kaunas.

Lithuania and its partners – Latvia and Estonia have already agreed with the European Commission that, along with the works on the Rail Baltica line, the implementation of a European signalling and control system (ERTMS) in the section between the Lithuanian-Polish border and Kaunas will be funded. This is a very important agreement, showing the economic viability of Rail Baltica in the nearest future.

“We will do our best to achieve that the second phase of the project is successful as well. I am grateful to Ms Catherine Trautmann, the European Coordinator for the TEN-T North Sea – Baltic Corridor who is investing lots of energy to ensure that the project partners undertake the works of construction of the European gauge railway in their respective countries”, says Minister Rimantas Sinkevičius.

This year the TEN-T Days are held in Rotterdam on 20–22 June. The development of the Trans-European Network is the main subject of the event, with a focus on the issues of implementation and financing of the main network corridors.

Violeta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Transport, and Melanie Schultz van Haegen, the Minister of Infrastructure and Environment of the Netherlands, are inviting the EU Ministers of Transport, Members of the European Parliament, and other interested parties to take part in discussions held during the TEN-T Days.