By the time you had received and read my comments on the Rail Delivery Groups announcements on leaving the European Interrail scheme the RDG had reversed their decision. By late yesterday afternoon they had renegotiated with their European partners and announced, initially via Twitter, that both the Interrail pass for EU citizens and EUrail pass for non-EU citizens will be honoured across the UK network and not dropped in January 2020 as originally planned. Whether those two passes are still to be merged, which appears to have been the catalyst for RDGs withdrawal, hasn’t been specified, but that’s and the commercial implications for the UK’s own international visitor BritRail pass is I think mainly an issue for them and not for UK tourism?
I would like to be able to claim that this was one of our quickest successes to date but that might be stretching belief too far. At the very least I can be confident that I was correct in my assessment that this was a very bad idea and one that that needed to be opposed, regardless of the prospects and practicalities of gaining a success.
I am still very surprised at both the about face and, in particularly, how quickly it was performed. Pure speculation but the speed and apparent ease does suggest that there may be more to this than initially meets the eye? For example, I did hint at my concern that the decision may have been made without the full knowledge of Government, who have a complex relationship with the RDG around who influences and sets what rail fares when and where. I somehow doubt that the public, rail user organisations and travel and tourism interests’ “strong reaction” alone was sufficient to change the direction in under 24 hours, however ill-conceived the original decision may have been. On the other hand, RDG now say they never wanted to leave the scheme in the first place, but that doesn’t appear to be the line or the tone being used to present their decision two days ago.
Apologies, if in my enthusiasm, to get to grips with an issue that I firmly believed would have had negatively impacted on UK tourism I have unnecessarily set hares running locally.