Adina Vălean, European Commissioner for Transport
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth
Marius Skuodis, Minister for Transport and Communications, Republic of Lithuania
Simonas Kairys, Minister of Culture, Republic of Lithuania
Andrzej Adamczyk, Minister of Infrastructure, Republic of Poland
Piotr Gliński, Minister of Culture, National Heritage & Sport, Republic of Poland
Talis Linkaits, Minister of Transport, Republic of Latvia
Nauris Puntulis, Minister of Culture, Republic of Latvia
Alberto Mazzola, Executive Director, Community of European Railways
Artur Martyniuk, General Director, Polregio S.A.
Linas Baužys, CEO, LTG Link
Rodžers Jānis Grigulis, Chairman of the Board, AS Pasažieru vilciens
Agnis Driksna, CEO, Rail Baltica
Virginija Vitkienė, CEO, European Capital of Culture Kaunas 2022
We, the undersigned, are very happy to see Kaunas 2022 has made a wonderful start to its year as European Capital of Culture. Indeed the opening events this month have motivated us all to try to travel to Kaunas at some point by the end of the year.
But it is exactly this travel point that concerns us, and is the subject of this letter.
International passenger railway connections between Lithuania and its EU neighbours Poland and Latvia have essentially been cut since 14 March 2020. That means that the greenest and most comfortable way to get to Kaunas from Berlin, Warszawa or Riga – the train – is not available.
Re-opening these cross border rail services is vital for the EU’s policy coherence – to show that travelling in an environmentally sustainable way is available for all, and building on 2021 that was the EU Year of Rail and 2022 that is the EU Year of Youth.
It is some irony that the only passenger train to cross the Poland-Lithuania border in 2021 was the European Commission’s “Connecting Europe Express”, a train that no member of the general public could use. Yet throughout the past two years flights and buses to Lithuania continued more or less uninterrupted, demonstrating that it is possible to travel to and from Lithuania safely even during the pandemic.
Trains to European Capitals of Culture can have a lasting impact. The Kulturzug that was organised to allow a green means to reach 2016 European Capital of Culture Wrocław from Berlin and still runs to this day, such was the success of the service. It even prompted long term improvements to EuroCity services between Berlin and Wrocław.
We demand that the daily train service between Białystok in Poland and Kaunas be reinstated by the end of February 2022, thereby allowing reliable connections from Kaunas to Warszawa, and onwards to Berlin, Praha, Wien and Bratislava. This connection has particular symbolic importance as it is the first part of the future Rail Baltica route, and the only rail connection between the Baltic States and the rest of the EU. A train to the European Capital of Culture could be a first step to showing rail’s potential at this border.
We understand that restoring services to Riga in Latvia could be more complicated, but extending at least one service each day from Šiauliai via Jelgava to Riga would offer the opportunity for connections to Kaunas. This should likewise start at the end of February 2022.
We look forward to your response, and likewise look forward to taking the train to Kaunas 2022!
|183||Dr. Julia Podziewska||Writer/academic||Jul 10, 2022|
|182||Mr. Oskar Schirmer||Jun 16, 2022|
|181||Mr. Rafał Chrzan||traveller, railway worker||May 03, 2022|
|180||Mr. Lennart Lünemann||Apr 11, 2022|
|179||Anonymous||Railway-Economy Student||Apr 03, 2022|
|178||Mr. E.H. Dalen||Mar 22, 2022|
|177||Mr. Wojciech Makowski||Mar 20, 2022|
|176||Mr. Richard Schofield||International Centre for Litvak Photography||Mar 19, 2022|
|175||Mr. J van Marle||Traveller||Mar 19, 2022|
|174||Mr. David Chovančík||Mar 12, 2022|
|173||Ms. andrea casalotti||Mar 10, 2022|
|172||Anonymous||Tourist||Mar 07, 2022|
|171||Anonymous||Feb 28, 2022|
|170||Ms. Rudolf Leska||Feb 27, 2022|
|169||Mr. Mateusz Siemieniuk||Feb 27, 2022|
|168||Ms. Hanna Cuno||Feb 25, 2022|
|167||Anonymous||Feb 25, 2022|
|166||Anonymous||World citizen||Feb 23, 2022|
|165||Ms. Damien Errington||Feb 23, 2022|
|164||Mr. Džonatans Melgalvis||Feb 23, 2022|
|163||Mr. Mateusz Klucha||Feb 22, 2022|
|162||Ms. Shaun Needham||Feb 22, 2022|
|161||Anonymous||Private traveller||Feb 22, 2022|
|160||Mr. Mateusz Turczynowicz||Feb 22, 2022|
|159||Ms. Michał Batus||Obywatel Polski||Feb 22, 2022|
|158||Anonymous||Civil Engineer||Feb 22, 2022|
|157||Anonymous||Feb 22, 2022|
|156||Anonymous||Feb 22, 2022|
|155||Anonymous||Feb 22, 2022|
|154||Ms. Magdalena Cendrowska||Feb 22, 2022|
|153||Anonymous||Feb 22, 2022|
|152||Ms. Mikołaj Piejko||Feb 22, 2022|
|151||Anonymous||Rowerowy Białystok||Feb 22, 2022|
|150||Mr. Mariusz Woronko||Teacher||Feb 22, 2022|
|149||Mr. Konstantinas Navardauskas Palaima||Civil engineer||Feb 22, 2022|
|148||Mr. Lars van Rossum||Train enthusiast and temporary inhabitant of Vilnius||Feb 21, 2022|
|147||Anonymous||Feb 21, 2022|
|146||Mr. Mark Ooijevaar||Feb 21, 2022|
|145||Mr. Toivo Jokkala||Feb 21, 2022|
|144||Anonymous||Traintraveller||Feb 21, 2022|
|143||Mr. Jens Holm||MP||Feb 21, 2022|
|142||Mr. Jonas Sjöstedt||Taking the train to Hanoi||Feb 21, 2022|
|141||Mr. Conor O'Neill||Feb 21, 2022|
|140||Mr. Arne Thomsen||Feb 21, 2022|
|139||Anonymous||Feb 21, 2022|
|138||Anonymous||Der Passagier||Feb 21, 2022|
|137||Mr. Julian Stiegele||Feb 21, 2022|
|136||Ms. Jane Thompson||Feb 21, 2022|
|135||Anonymous||Feb 21, 2022|
|134||Dr. Peter Ahlström||Feb 20, 2022|
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