Next stop: the People’s Railway – A European Conference on the future of rail”
Rail for All: 19-03-09
Symposium on a social railway on Saturday, 16/05/2009 with opening events on the evening of Friday, 15/05/2009 in Düsseldorf and Cologne organised by the German coalition against railway privatisation "Bahn für Alle", the German Green Party (North Rhine-Westphalia) and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT), Britain
In the search for answers to the new global economic crisis, the public transport sector has hardly been considered. However, an economic stimulus programme in public transport would meet two crucial criteria: firstly, millions of (good) jobs would be created; secondly, it would lead to the urgently-needed reduction in the exploitation of natural resources and of climate-critical emissions. The current reality of the European rail sector makes coordinated governmental intervention necessary: reduced train services, disused railway lines and ramshackle station buildings across Europe speak a clear language: so far, the desires of passengers and freight customers for inexpensive and punctual trains have not been fulfilled.
The sell off and privatisation of a number of railway companies that has already taken place and the new privatisation projects are accelerating this destructive process. Business customers and passengers of European railways don’t accept privatised rail companies paying annual dividends. They are against the aggressive course of acquisition and expansion set out by rail companies. They want a people’s railway, a social railway with a dense railway network, in short: a massive increase in quality of timetables, travel times, punctuality, performance and guaranteed ticket prices.
Today, as German railway privatisation has been put to one side for now, we want to use the time available to coordinate opposition to plans for the sell off and privatisation of European railways. Therefore, in the run-up to the European Parliamentary elections, we would like to discuss concepts for the rail of the future - with employers, experts and trade unionists from across Europe. At a time when trade unions across Europe are demonstrating against the consequences of the global economic crisis we want to discuss what a Europe-wide renaissance of railways could look like and how this could lead to an environmental and climate friendly capital expenditure and job creation programme.
We have drawn up the conference timetable to give this a more detailed plan.
Preliminary conference timetable
Friday evening, 15.05.09, 7.00 pm, Landtag, state parliament Düsseldorf
* Panel discussion: "The global economic crisis - Risks and opportunity for climate, environment and rail” with guests from trade unions, politics and society
* Presentation of a capital spending and job creation programme for the European rail traffic
Saturday morning, 16.05.09, 9.00 am – 12.00 noon(On Saturday: all meetings in the Rhineland Regional Council (LVR) in Cologne)
* Short presentation on the ”Bahn für alle” campaign
* Rail privatisation from an European point of view - four examples ranging from the initial public offering to populism
Saturday noon, 16.05.09, 12.00 noon – 12.45 pm
* Lunch time
Saturday afternoon, 16.05.09, 1.00 pm – 3.00 pm
* Initial statements and three workshops concerning
o Green new (rail) deal
o The People’s Railway 2020
o Railway-friendly European politics
Afterwards adoption of modifications and conclusion of one ”Declaration of Cologne / Déclaration de Cologne”
Saturday evening, 16.05.09, 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm
* Panel discussion ”Rail of the future or a future without rail? ” with representatives of the 5 parties in the German Bundestag (the German national parliament) and the European Parliament
Saturday evening, 16.05.09, after 6.30 pm
* Finish with demonstration (with European trade unionists) at Cologne main railway station and/or at the front of Cologne Cathedral
We reserve the right to make changes to the content and the speakers