Private firms head to court over night train to Vienna subsidies

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Several private railway companies are taking legal action against the Dutch state for giving subsidies to state-owned NS to take part in trials for a night train service between Amsterdam and Vienna.

They argue that they were not given a fair chance to compete for the night train concession, the Financieele Dagblad reported.

The infrastructure ministry said that objections to the decision had already been submitted by Flixbus, and sector organisations FMN and Allrail but rejected.

The complaint centres on the ÖBB NightJet service due to start later this month.

The commercial firms argue that the subsidy is not only unnecessary and a distortion of EU competition rules, but that EU tender processes were ignored. ‘Other railway firms would have been able to offer a similar night train service, especially with subsidies,’ Flixbus said.

The case will be heard on May 19.

The government wants to encourage train services within Europe as an alternative for more polluting short flights.

It is unclear how much money the government is putting into the project. In 2019, when the night train service was first mooted, €6.7m was given as the subsidy figure.

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