Campaigners celebrate British rail companies U turn on Interrail

The UK Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has done a U turn after an outcry over plans to cease the UK's participation in Interrail.

The RDG reversed its decision in the space of 24 hours after it was faced with a formidable reaction to its ultimately short-lived decision to end the UK's participation in rail scheme.

Within hours of their initial decision, campaign group New Europeans and others had mobilised to defend what Gary Paterson, an EU youth activist and New Europeans member from Scotland described as an "iconic connection with Europe which has facilitated the exchange of ideas, experiences, and friendships between young Europeans for decades.”

The RDG group which represents train operators made the dramatic U-turn following renewed talks with Eurail Group, the company which runs the Interrail and Eurail programmes.

In a statement, the RDG group said it had reversed its original decision following "strong reaction onoscial media to news of our departure".

Had RDG decided to go ahead with its plan, Interrail passes purchased after 1 January 2020 would not have been valid on any rail services in the UK except for the Eurostar service to London, cutting off other parts of the UK with Scotland particularly badly affected.

New Europeans joined forces with #EUSupergirl and Young European of the Year, Madeleina Kay to fight the decision as well as with Vincent Herr and Martin Speer, the two Berlin-based campaigners who campaigned for the introduction of a free interrail pass for all 18 years olds in the EU.

Using an iconic image from the Harry Potter films, New Europeans and the quickly assembled campaign launched a petition which immediately began to trend on social media.

A campaign source said, "It is unusual for powerful commercial interests to give way to even the most determined of campaigners, but that is indeed what has happened."

Responding to news of the campaign's success, Vincent Herr and Martin Speer said:"We are truly overjoyed that Britain will not would' leave #Interrail/#Eurail. Thank you to thousands of people who supported #DontLeaveInterrail and many other initiatives. Civil and political action can change things - it can re-unite us Europeans."

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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