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Dublin: 16 °C Tuesday 17 September, 2019

UK train companies reverse decision to quit Interrail after 24 hours

Yesterday, the UK’s rail companies announced they were leaving the Europe-wide scheme.

Image: Shutterstock/travellight

AFTER A SWIFT reversal by UK rail companies, European travellers will be able to use Interrail passes in the UK – the news comes less than 24 hours it was announced that the UK had been booted out of the Europe-wide scheme. 

The move, which would have meant Europeans travelling with an Interrail pass would not have been able to use it in the UK from 2020, had been greeted with criticism and disappointment

In a statement posed on Twitter, the Rail Delivery Group – which represents UK rail companies – said: “Britain’s train companies never wanted to leave Interrail. Following the strong reaction to news of our departure we and Eurail, the company which runs Interrail, renewed talks.”

“We are pleased to be able to tell passengers that we have reached agreement and will be remaining part of both the Interrail and Eurail passes,” the group said. 

Eurail has not yet commented on the agreement, but yesterday the company, representing Europe’s rail companies, had said that it “deeply” regretted the UK’s exit from the scheme and placed the blame on the Rail Delivery Group.

The Rail Delivery Group had announced that it had been the decision of the Eurail Group to boot Britain out of the scheme.

It had also stressed that the decision was not linked to Brexit. 

It said on Twitter: “The Eurail group has decided to end our membership from 1 January 2020, despite us wanting to remain part of the group. This is not linked to our membership of the EU.”

The new agreement has already been widely welcomed by a variety of figures, including former Labour transport secretary Andrew Adonis, who called yesterday’s news “shameful”.

The Labour Party’s shadow secretary of state for transport, Andy McDonald, said: “I’m pleased the plan to remove the UK from the Interrail scheme has been reversed, but the decision to leave should have never been taken in the first place.”

Interrail passes cost between €20 and €400 depending on how long they last and how many of the 30 participating countries they cover.

The EU planned two years ago to give all 18-year-olds free Interrail passes but derailed the scheme because it was too expensive.

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