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EU proposes to open rail services to competition

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EU proposes to open rail services to competition

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Is international rail travel set to become cheaper? In a move that surprised many observers, the European Parliament has voted to open international rail services to competition by 2010. But it stopped short of reforming domestic train services after meeting strong resistance from countries where state companies dominate the market, such as France, Belgium and Austria.

The European Parliament also voted in favour of setting minimum levels of passenger compensation for late-running international trains.

Among ideas being floated is a 25% refund for a delay of an hour where the operator is at fault.

Train crews may also have to meet increased standards of competence and safety before being certified.

The package will now have to be agreed out by EU member transport ministers.

They’re set to meet next month.