We have been hearing time and time again just how badly has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected the tourism industry, not just in countries where the economy is highly dependent on it, such as Malta, but also all across Europe, and the world.
The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, an EU think-tank, has come up with an idea which would serve to help Europe recover from the coronavirus crisis.
A fully fledged Ultra-Rapid-Train network could consist of four major railway lines, connecting all the capital cities of the EU and the Western Balkans’ (potential) EU candidate countries. Bang in the middle of this plan, is a route linking Malta to Brussels, via train – the blue line in the map above.
Equally it connects many of Europe’s key economic powerhouses, but also less developed regions, such as the Mezzogiorno. The overlap with the existing Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is substantial, but due to the big technical differences in the national railway systems (e.g. different gauges, railway electrification, security systems), it should be stressed that the URT network should be an additional infrastructure, with its own technical standards.
The Other Lines are (seen above):
› Dublin-Paris via a ferry-based sea link between Cork and Brest, taking on an additional significance in the context of Brexit (green)
› Lisbon-Helsinki including a loop around the Baltic Sea meeting in the Ruhr area (red)
› Berlin-Nicosia, with a ferry-based sea link between Piraeus and Paphos and a loop between Vienna and Sofia (brown)
With estimated costs reaching 1,100 Billion Euro, this could definitely make mobility easier for all of us. What do YOU think?
The full proposal can be read HERE!