News from FEDECRAIL

09

06

21

Online broadcast: linking tourism and rail

Opportunities for the sustainable development of rail tourism this decade and the much needed recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic were the focus of an online discussion with rail experts, conducted by UIC TopRail (World Rail Tourism) and ETOA (European Tourism Association). FEDECRAIL is a partner of UIC TopRail. Against the backdrop of the climate emergency, the creation and distribution of new leisure rail travel products were discussed using best practice examples from international and intra-European case studies, to be seen here.

29

05

21

New funding programme of Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE

The new seven-year funding programme of Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE for 2021-27 is almost completed. Interreg, or as it is officially called, "European territorial cooperation", is part of the European Union's structural and investment policy. For more than 20 years, it has supported cross-border cooperation in Central Europe between regions and cities to build capacity for regional development in the areas of innovation, carbon reduction, protection of natural and cultural resources, and transport and mobility. FEDECRAIL has participated in previous Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE projects.

The funding programme is not centrally managed by the European Commission. Rather, representatives of the national and regional authorities of the participating Member States sit down together on the ground in each border area, in each transnational cooperation area, and jointly define the development priorities of the respective programme, with the participation of municipalities, economic and social partners and non-governmental organisations such as FEDECRAIL. The implementation then takes place in concrete projects. The call for the first submission of new project proposals is expected to start in the second half of 2021.

25

05

21

Great interest in the first FEDECRAIL youth webinar

The interest in the first FEDECRAIL youth webinar was so good that it could become a monthly feature in the future. 17 young people from the UK, Germany, Romania and Sweden met virtually with three organisers from various European umbrella organisations plus two representatives from NERHT (New Europe Railway Heritage Trust) and agreed to meet again to discuss any pressing issues.

Many of the young people have already participated in a FEDECRAIL youth exchange and they do not want to miss out on this important experience for them in the future. The NERHT Foundation wants to continue to support the participation of young people from Eastern Europe in youth exchanges in order to promote the growth of railway preservation in former communist countries.

Information on the use of social media, especially among young people who regularly post news, photos and videos, as well as an insight into the needs of young people becoming more involved and contributing, completed the picture of the successful webinar premiere.

Repeating the event on a regular basis could both strengthen relationships between participants and create a European network between young people. The impact of webinars with specific content and relevant experts will also be explored. Some young people specifically asked for help in the area of communication for their railway activities to help attract more visitors.

11

05

21

Introducing of new member candidates

Ferrocarril de Sóller. Photo: Jacques Daffis

At the forthcoming General Assembly of FEDECRAIL, being held as a hybrid event in Brussels on 19 June 2021, a decision will be taken on the acceptance of new members into the Federation. Several historic organisations have applied for membership. The candidates come from Belarus, Mallorca/Spain and as individual members also from Great Britain, after the umbrella organisation resigned from FEDECRAIL at the beginning of the year.

They are: Belarus Narrow Gauge Railway Foundation (BY), Ferrocarril de Sóller S.A.(E), Seaton Tramway (UK), Scottish Railway Preservation Society (UK). Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway Ltd (UK), UK Tram (UK) and Ravenglass & EksdaleRailway Co. Ltd. (UK). More information about the candidates can be found under this link (290 MB - each file in the Winzip folder will need to be downloaded first before they can be viewed).

10

05

21

ECTN Awards 2021 - Sustainable Cultural Tourism

”Regenerating European tourism through Culture, Heritage and Creativity“ is the overiding theme of the ECTN Awards 2021. ECTN is the European Cultural Tourism Network, which is inviting FEDECRAIL to deliver a keynote address at their 2021 Annual meeting and Awards ceremony in Athens in October this year and will also highlight the heritage rail industry during the European Year of Rail 2021.

The Awards help enhance the visibility of European cultural tourism destinations, create a platform for sharing experience and knowledge, and promotes networking between destinations. The call from ECTN for nominations is an opportunity to highlight the outstanding work done in the historic rail sector and the importance to Cultural Tourism. The 2021 edition of the Awards for ‘Destination of Sustainable Cultural Tourism’ is organised by ECTN in partnership with Europa Nostra, the European Travel Commission and NECSTouR, supported by the Creative Tourism Network (CTN) and ‘Via Francigena' Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. The deadline for nominations is 31 May 2021.

16

04

21

UIC events for the European Year of Rail 2021

The European Year of Rail 2021 was officially launched at the end of March during a joint virtual conference organised by the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency. The following day, an informal Council of Ministers meeting was held on the topic of rail transport. This marks the start of the initiative launched by the European Commission to promote rail transport in the midst of the Corona pandemic at a difficult time. It is part of the European Union's efforts to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 as one element of the European Green Deal.

The European Commission and its partners want to highlight the importance of rail transport with numerous events, projects and activities across the EU: Europe's innovative rail industry, its role in European culture and heritage, its connectivity to regions, people and businesses, its share in sustainable tourism as well as its role in the EU's relations with neighbouring countries. Among other things, it is important to raise awareness of this environmentally friendly means of transport, especially among the younger generation.

The UIC (Union Internationale des Chemins de fer), as part of the EU initiative, is planning a series of events covering a wide range of activities in the sector: from an international „Green Transport Week“ held to coincide with the UN World Environment day in June and the EU Green Week to a „Rail Accessibility Day“ and an international symposium which aims to demonstrate how RAIL is resilient, innovative and prepared for the ‘New Normal’ – the new (multi) mobility challenges ahead. (More information here)

Through a Memorandum of Understanding with UIC and participation in the UIC TopRail work to promote rail tourism, FEDECRAIL is working with national railways to develop and promote the European Year of Rail. The European Commissioner for Culture and Education Mariya Gabriel recently described the presentation of the "7 Most Endangered 2021" by Europa Nostra as a good start to the event. Earlier, she had already explicitly emphasized that railways were an essential part of European culture and identity and would be a key element in the European Green Deal.

09

04

21

Milestone for the Achensee Railway in Tirol

Photo, October 2020: Gunter Mackinger

The Achensee Railway in Tyrol/Austria has made it! It has been included in the 2021 list of the "7 Most Endangered" by Europa Nostra, the European heritage protection association dedicated to cultural heritage. Every year, this list names the most endangered monuments, sites and landscapes in Europe in order to mobilise public and private partners at all levels to find a viable future for the gems of cultural heritage.

For the Achensee Railway, which went bankrupt a year ago after agreed maintenance funding was withheld by politicians of Land Tyrol, it could be a milestone in its rescue. In its uniqueness using the original locomotives, rolling stock and infrastructure from its opening in 1889, it should be preserved as an important part of Austria's cultural heritage and that it will play its full role in the development of sustainable tourism and the European Green Deal once the pandemic is over.

Both the European Commissioner for Culture and Education, Mariya Gabriel, and Europa Nostra Secretary General, Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, stress that saving the Achensee Railway would be particularly timely in this European Year of Railways 2021.

18

03

21

Webinars replace Youth Exchange in 2021 starting in April

Youth Exchange 2017 in Italy

Corona Virus and the subsequent fallout has prevented the FEDECRAIL Youth Exchange from taking place again this year. The health situation in Europe is so serious that there are no guarantees that the Exchange can be organised safely for young people. In addition, an increase in travel costs is to be expected in the future due to the reduction and availability of low-cost flights, especially detrimental to young participants of a youth exchange. FEDECRAIL will therefore soon offer alternative meetings on the internet. They will serve to re-establish connections with young people from previous years and to involve any new youngsters who may be interested.

The aim is to create a solid European network of young people who are enthusiastic about heritage railways and railway museums. Greater participation by the younger generation should also benefit cooperation between all members of the association. By interacting with other volunteers, young people feel more included, especially in this time of limited social contact.

Initially, three meetings are planned in the form of webinars, starting around mid-April with a round of introductions and sharing of Covid experiences. The Youth Exchange Group is also currently looking into exchanges on other social media networks used by young people. The more contacts are built up on the internet, the more young people will want to meet up physically when it becomes possible again.

03

03

21

Unique new cooperation of the European Mobile Heritage sector

FEDECRAIL supports a unique new cooperation of the European Mobile Heritage sector. The COVID-19 worldwide pandemic suggests that the attention for environmental threads of the global warming up has been pushed back. But looking into this aspect of our behaviour from a more long-term perspective, the execution of the Plan Paris – the aim for a fair place in the EU Green Deal – will ask a maximum attention of all of us.

In the past year, the Dutch National Cultural Heritage Agency, in close cooperation with the Dutch Mobile Historical Collection foundation, has undertaken various activities in the area of European cooperation in the field of mobile heritage.

The various chairmen of European umbrella organisations for historical mobile heritage, i.c.: the road, rail and air sectors have agreed to intensify this cooperation, in which the water sector and the sector of working industrial heritage will also be invited to join.

FEDECRAIL has agreed to further intensify this cooperation, in order to set up a platform that will formulate central goals, which in future political climate debates should contribute to clear discussions and decision making in the European Parliament and the European Commission and will help to assure a steady future for our forms of heritage. The board of FEDECRAIL is preparing to organize web-meetings in the coming weeks with the boards of the individual national heritage rail umbrella-organizations being member of FEDECRAIL to listen to their ideas in this important subject.

18

12

20

HRA leaves FEDECRAIL at the end of the year

With the UK transition period coming to an end on 31st December 2020 and after the UK referendum decision in 2016 to leave the EU, the Heritage Railway Association of the UK and Ireland (HRA) has decided to resign from Fedecrail from 1st January 2021. Having been a founding member since Fedecrail’s creation in 1995, the news of its imminent departure has been received with some sadness. President, Jaap Nieweg comments:

“Recent months have seen unprecedented uncertainty and hardship for all of us when it comes to Covid-19 and I can appreciate that together with Brexit, the UK faces many challenges as it transitions to a new phase in its history. Of course, the UK is not leaving Europe, only the EU, and I sincerely hope that the UK Government is successful in achieving a trade deal with the EU before the year is up. Over many years our UK board members, officers, friends and supporters have proved invaluable in the work we do at Fedecrail and I have no doubt they will continue to do so ensuring we represent all members with the strongest voice possible when it comes to our collective goal of promoting & safeguarding Europe’s railway heritage. In the meantime, my aim is that we welcome applications from individual UK and Ireland railways and I am pleased to say that is already happening. I also hope to welcome HRA back as members in a few years’ time once the Brexit dust has settled.”

16

12

20

One of the 7 most endangered objects?

Achenseebahn, 10th December 2020. Photo: Gunter Mackinger

The Achensee Steam Cog Railway is the only public railway in the world that, since it was opened in 1889, still uses all of the equipment of a late 19th-century railway system. These elements are steam-locomotives, passenger carriages, an engine-house with sliding platform, workshop, rails, dams and bridges.

In the spring of 2020, the Achensee Railway company went bankrupt and the subsidies which were promised by the Tyrolean provincial government were not disbursed by autumn. This authentic example of European industrial heritage is at risk of fast deterioration due to lack of maintenance to ensure its original and continuous function.

ICOMOS Austria, with the support of Europa Nostra Austria, nominated the Achensee Steam Cog Railway to the 7 Most Endangered Programme 2021.Fedecrail has been involved in this project since 2019.

The Advisory Panel of the Programme commented: “We hope that possible renegotiations of the funding problems could bear fruit. The public support for saving the railway is growing, not only by the Achensee Support Association’s activities but also the enthusiastic volunteers who run the line single-handedly.”

06

12

20

Tramway Group strengthens communication

In the year 2020, the tramway group monitored a few issues, such as the impact of covid on heritage trams and the standardization work that takes place on behalf of the EU. During the year, a visit was made to the UK tram. A very interesting visit that gave an understanding of how the association within HRA (Heritage Railway Association) for heritage tram.

In the coming years, the tramway group has arrived at a business plan with increased communication and webinars for and with members. We see that there are different needs and that the work within the tramway group is more about actively visiting the members and meeting online.

The tramway group is planning a visit to the German tramway meeting (AHN) which is arranged annually. Trying to arrange a "hands on trip" however, this is entirely due to the pandemic. We hope for an exciting 2021 with many exchanges internationally and learning from each other.

02

12

20

FEDECRAIL Youth Exchange only in 2022

The development of the corona pandemic is still not foreseeable. For this reason, FEDECRAIL has decided to reschedule the youth exchange which was already postponed this year. The youth exchange planned in the South West of England at West Somerset Railway and Seaton Tramway, to which young museum railway enthusiasts between 16 and 25 years of age are invited, will not take place until 2022.

21

11

20

Historical tram operation during the pandemics

Gothenburg. Photo: Ingrid Schütte

The FEDECRAIL Tramway Group has surveyed most of its members in Europe about the impact of the pandemic on their historic tram operations. As a result, the general advice and restrictions vary from country to country, as do the keeping open or closing of borders or other measures. Given the different approaches and different operation of trams, it is difficult to give a complete overall picture.

Many organisations were not allowed to operate at all, or had very limited access and had few passengers when tourism was low. Another problem for tramways was the high average age of volunteers both in the tram operations and in the workshops. There are, however, examples of museums that were able to concentrate more on the work in the workshops.

In Stockholm, for example, it was only allowed to run without passengers. In Gothenburg and Norrköping, historic traffic was allowed, but the lack of tourists has put the business in the red. The same applies to Rotterdam and Brussels. In Brussels, work was done in the workshop, but the museum was closed. There was also little activity in Norway and Finland, and almost none in Germany.

In contrast, the museums in Skjöldnäsholm, Denmark, and Malmköping, Sweden, recorded more visitors from the surrounding area, as did museums outside the cities in the Netherlands. The situation was less positive for British museums: They were hardly open and had to cancel major events.

10

11

20

Major John Poyntz passed away at the age of 82

John Poyntz – former lead Inspector at the UK Railway Inspectorate with responsibility for the regulation of safety on heritage railways – has sadly passed away on 2 November 2020 at the age of 82 after a long period of ill-health. Both when in office and in retirement, he was a source of much valuable advice on safety issues. With Fedecrail, he was a Friend of FEDECRAIL and a regular attender for many years at our conferences. His military railway career included service in the UK and Germany with the Berlin Military Corridor Trains. He was both a real rail enthusiast and a railway professional. All who knew him will wonder what will happen now to those small notebooks in which he recorded every detail of railway interest... We will all miss his sharp mind and infectious humour.

27

10

20

Objective : a fair place in the Green Deal

Four decisions for the future as part of the European Green Deal

The 16th Annual Conference of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) was held in Oberhausen/Germany in October 2020 under the motto "Keep the wheels turning - Making industrial heritage fit for generational change". The keynote speaker of the event was FEDECRAIL President Jaap Nieweg who highlighted the conference theme from the perspective of the European museum and tourist railways which, like the cultural sector as a whole, are currently facing the effects of the Paris Convention, Brexit and the COVID 19 pandemic as well as the transition to the younger generation. A key objective for the industrial and mobile heritage, according to Mr Nieweg, must be to obtain a fair place in the Green Deal, which is the European response to the Paris Convention.

One way to achieve this, he said, was to address the issue of coal by making key decisions on how to preserve its conceptual authenticity, to separate objects with high and low or no dependence on fossil fuels, to reduce CO2 where possible and to recognise coal as a real value of conceptual authenticity. A selected coal mine would have to be maintained in function as a museum to serve both as documentation for visitors and to supply the mobile heritage.

Due to the corona pandemic, the annual conference was held both in the Rhineland Regional Council's industrial museum, the Zinkfabrik Altenberg, and online. ERIH (European Route of Industrial Heritage) is a network of the main sites of Europe's industrial heritage.

12

09

20

2021 - the European Year of Rail

The European Commission has proposed that 2021 be declared European Year of Rail. Events, campaigns and initiatives will promote rail as a sustainable, innovative and safe mode of transport. This European Year should help to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal in the transport sector. Transport currently accounts for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. These are to be reduced by 90 percent by 2050. The European Commission stresses that rail, as one of the most sustainable and safest modes of transport, will play an important role in the European mobility system of the future. The railways connect people, regions and companies across the EU and are also a testimony to Europe's technical know-how and part of its cultural heritage.

2021 has been chosen because it will be the first full year in which the rules agreed in the fourth railway package will be implemented across the EU. 2021 will also mark a number of important anniversaries for the railways: the 20th anniversary of the first EU directive on a single transport market, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Union of Railways (UIC), the 175th anniversary of the first rail link between two EU capitals (Paris-Brussels) as well as 40 years of TGV, 30 years of ICE and last but not least 25 years of Eurostar and the Channel Tunnel.

The EU Parliament approved the proposal in mid-October 2020.

15

08

20

EU Questionnaire on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis

The pandemic is putting the EU tourism ecosystem under unprecedented pressure. As a result of travel and other restrictions, tourism reached a gradual halt during the first quarter of 2020 in the EU and globally. The OECD estimates this decline to be from 45 to 70 percent, depending on the length of the health crisis and on the pace of recovery.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is preparing an opinion on the Commission communication. This is why the Rapporteur of the opinion, Mr Panagiotis Gkofas, and the study group on Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond prepared a questionnaire to be shared with organisations from the tourism sector in the EU. The EESC will feed its findings into its opinion, which will be adopted in September 2020 and will be presented to the European Commission and other EU institutions.

Questionnaire to complete by 30 August 2020.

18

06

20

Questionnaire endagered rail heritage

The European Commission has proposed to make 2021 the European Year of Rail, because it marks several important anniversaries for rail: the 20th anniversary of the first EU Railway Package, the 175th anniversary of the first ever rail link between two EU capitals (Paris-Brussels), as well as 40 years of TGV and 30 years of ICE.(http://industrialheritage.eu/2021/European-Year-Rail)

As railways and trams, buildings, infrastructure and rolling stock are an important industrial heritage, EFAITH (European Federation of Associations of Industrial and Technical Heritage) has developed a questionnaire on "railway heritage at risk", which is decaying and in danger of being lost. A database is to be created. COVID-19 could also threaten volunteer historical railways, as the necessary income has been missing for more than three months and the next months are uncertain. EFAITH sees itself as a platform for the promotion of contacts and cooperation between volunteers and non-profit volunteer associations in Europe. The questionnaire is available in six languages.


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updated 05.03.2020