After crossing 24 countries in Europe, the Connecting Europe Express (CEE) makes a stop in Luxembourg today on 5 October 2021. With a symbolic act of flag exchange between Henrik Hololei, Director-General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission, and François Bausch, Minister for Mobility and Public Works of Luxembourg, the train is welcomed at Bettembourg station, giving the go-ahead for the CEE event.
The CEE is an initiative of the European Commission in the Year of Rail 2021 that shines a light on the advantages of the rail as a safe and sustainable means of transport for both passenger and freight traffic. Since its departure from Lisbon on 2 September 2021, the train has crossed numerous borders and over 100 stops, demonstrating the interconnectedness of the European rail network but also the challenges that rail players have to face in order to make rail more efficient.
The reception of the CEE train in Luxembourg is organised by the CFL in cooperation with the Luxembourg Ministry of Mobility and Public Works and the European Commission. This event marks a symbolic milestone for the rail players to unite in Europe under a common message: Being sustainable and reliable, the rail makes a valuable contribution to achieving the climate goals. Nonetheless, the same rail players are dependent on the necessary support of the European Union and its citizens in order to strengthen the European rail network and to make rail the preferred means of transport in Europe.
For attendees of the CEE event, the subsequent visit of the intermodal terminal Bettembourg-Dudelange is the highlight of the day. The intermodal terminal enables the environmentally friendly modal shift of goods from road to rail via vertical and horizontal transshipment technologies, thus avoiding the emission of 157,000 tons of CO2 annually.
At the concluding conference, central themes such as intermodal transport, interoperability and strategies for increasing the attractiveness of rail were addressed by various key speakers, representing the railway sector but also logistics, industry and banking sector.
Marc Wengler, CEO CFL: "I am delighted that the Connecting Europe Express train stops in Luxembourg and that this event is dedicated to freight transport. The freight activities of the CFL Group, in particular at the intermodal terminal Bettembourg-Dudelange, are committed to fully contribute to the European project to reduce CO2 emissions by offering multimodal logistics solutions in line with market requirements. This day of interchange at the conference shows us how much we need joint and concerted action to move the railways to the center of our logistics chains and thus make them more sustainable."
François Bausch, Minister for Mobility and Public Works: "The connectivity between the three European cities of Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels is a shame. We really have a lot to do in linking these cities to each other. I think the European Commission must really help the countries that cannot afford the necessary investments during the next few years."
Upon arrival at its terminus in Paris, the CEE train will have crossed a total of 26 countries and covered a distance of 20,000 km.
Press release by the Ministry of Mobility and Public Works / Société nationale des chemins de fer luxembourgeois / Société nationale des chemins de fer luxembourgeois - multimodal S.A.