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Train Over Plane: We Built A Map to Campaign Against EU Domestic Flights

In the run-up to COP27, discussions around green travel solutions and the #flygskam movement that first hit the headlines in 2018, are at an all-time high.

While many of us saw the covid-induced hiatus on air travel as nothing more than a temporary dip that would soon return to pre-pandemic levels, growing conversations about the opportunity to replace certain flight routes with greener alternatives is set to change the future of travel altogether.

Specifically, several EU countries including France, Austria and The Netherlands have plans to phase out short-haul flights that can be completed by train in a given time frame. As exciting as this might sound, history teaches us not to take pledges of goodwill at face value. Intentions are one thing but many governments fall short when it comes to implementing formal legislation or tackling the route of an issue with long-term commitments.

With this in mind, we’ve spent the last few months developing Train Over Plane — an interactive map that compiles all of the ongoing discussions and active legislation around phasing-out domestic flights to provide a visual model of what action EU countries are taking.

What Is Train Over Plane

As the name suggests, Train Over Plane imagines a world where there are fewer planes in the sky and more trains on the track.

More specifically, it uses a three-stage model to visualise the associated carbon savings of phasing-out flight routes that can be completed by train in a given time. The goal is to create a real-time model that captures the countries that are already taking action against domestic flights and visualises the environmental impact of expanding the Train Over Plane zone across more territories.

In its current form, the three stages of the Train Over Plane zone are as follows:

  • Stage 1. Active legislation or ongoing conversations about phasing-out specified flight routes that can be completed by train in less than 2.5 hours. This applies to France, Austria, The Netherlands and Spain.

  • Stage 2. Ongoing conversations about replacing specified flight routes that can be completed by train in less than 4 hours. This applies to France, Austria, The Netherlands, Spain and Germany.

  • Stage 3. An EU-wide agreement to replace all domestic and intra-EU flight routes that can be completed by train in less than 4 hours.

Why Did We Build Train Over Plane?

A Campaign for Change

Our primary motivation for consolidating and sharing information about phasing-out domestic flights was to create a visual tool that people could use to campaign for change.

If last year’s COP26 has taught us anything, it’s that getting the attention of key decision-makers and inspiring action from global leaders is no mean feat. While the climate conference was a success in the sense that it helped to broadcast important messages about the future of our planet, the promises we hear on TV screens and the front pages rarely translate into long-term action.

In the context of phasing-out domestic flights, we created Train Over Plane to hold governments accountable for their pledges and to provide an open-source resource that captures up-to-date information on what governments say they’re going to do about high-polluting transport routes.

If you’re someone who feels strongly about protecting our planet and thinks governments should do more to decarbonise transport, exploring and sharing Train Over Plane will help us nudge decision-makers in the right direction.

OTAs Need Rail On Their Menu

The other key motivation behind Train Over Plane is to shine a light on how the travel industry can predict and adapt to structural changes in the transport sector. Modal shift (the process of passengers switching to alternative modes of transport) presents a number of technical challenges and commercial opportunities for Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).

Critically, European governments phasing out domestic flights will require OTAs to offer rail options alongside flight reservations to help customers book seamless multimodal journeys. For example, if someone wants to travel from New York to Lyon but the French government has legislated against the Paris to Lyon flight, he or she will need to hop on a train instead of taking the domestic flight connection.

We can already see these changes taking effect as more airlines are now offering train bookings on their websites.

Taking a Stand at Last Year’s COP26

As part of our campaign to promote green rail alternatives over domestic flights, SilverRail’s Marketing Director, Frederic Kalinke, took the train to Glasgow to attend The New York Times Climate Hub at COP26 in 2021.

Frederic wanted answers about why some countries are more serious about green travel than others. After attending a panel discussion about the future of sustainable mobility in the 21st century, he took to the microphone to challenge the panel on why more government leaders aren’t following in the footsteps of countries like France, Austria and The Netherlands to phase-out domestic flights in favour of green rail.

You can catch Frederic in action ​​here.


Help Us Decarbonise Travel

At SilverRail, we’re on a mission to make rail easy.

We develop technology to help rail operators and travel agencies transform how they serve customers and run their businesses. Concerning Train Over Plane more specifically, our White Label and Metasearch products help OTAs sell rail easily by providing seamless and easy-to-integrate retail solutions.

Hit the link below to learn more about how we can help.

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SilverRail Partners with Emburse to Enable its Clients to Buy and Amend Amtrak Tickets

London, UK,  September 2022

SilverRail, the B2B travel technology company that helps rail operators and travel agencies transform how they serve customers and run their businesses, is excited to announce a partnership with Emburse, the global leader in spend optimisation. 

Emburse, which helps companies automate manual travel and expense management processes and improve visibility and control over travel spend, is using SilverRail to provide it with Amtrak content so that its US corporate clients can book and amend train tickets. 

SilverRail provides companies like Emburse with a simple and cost-effective rail booking, ticketing and after-sales solution. Its API is designed to significantly reduce the complexity, operational cost and technical effort in connecting to rail content, and in doing so, makes selling rail easy. Click here to find out more about our distribution solution.   

Juliette Thorpe, Senior Commercial Director at  SilverRail said, “We are happy to announce our partnership with Emburse, an intuitive OBT for corporate travel. As more companies commit to net zero targets and shift to more sustainable travel practices, it’s great to help another player in the corporate travel ecosystem to sell rail easily.” 


For media inquiries, please contact:

Frederic Kalinke, Marketing Director at SilverRail

e: marketing@silverrailtech.com


About SilverRail Technologies (www.silverrailtech.com)   

SilverRail is delivering the digital infrastructure for the global rail industry.  

SilverRail’s technology makes rail easy for rail operators, travel agencies and travellers. Its product suite spans the full customer experience: journey planning, distribution, fulfilment, customer service and data insight. 

SilverRail:  

  • Handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year  
  • Distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers  
  • Processes more than 30 million bookings each year  
  • Serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide  

SilverRail was founded in 2009 and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.    

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Mark Rowland Joins SilverRail as Chief Customer Officer

We are delighted to announce that Mark Rowland has joined SilverRail as Chief Customer Officer. Mark has deep product and commercial experience in the travel and technology sector, having worked in leadership positions at ASOS, Meta and Expedia.

In this blog, we interview Mark to get his thoughts on travel technology, what he has learnt so far in his career and the big opportunity he sees at SilverRail.

Welcome Mark – what is your background?

I’ve been into technology my whole life, from building PCs to run games faster, configuring servers to expand networks, learning SQL to improve insurance comparison, to getting into Product Management to combine and scale technology to better serve customers. 

I started my career in start-ups before getting into Product Management with Expedia where I spent nearly 10 years working across car rental, insurance, flights and hotels. I left to join Facebook to learn about social media advertising and technology. Most recently I led the product and design teams at ASOS to help both the business and customer experience evolve to be more product and customer-centric.

What interests you about travel technology?

I’ve been interested in travel technology since I booked my first holiday. I always enjoy finding the path less travelled, places that aren’t on every tour itinerary and give me the opportunity to understand the people and culture of everywhere I visit. I fundamentally believe in the power of travel to expose us to different cultures so we can understand and respect each other’s similarities and differences. I also always want the best deal and I will search pretty hard to find it.

Travel technology has constantly evolved to make finding travel options easier but the choice of places to go and ways to get there will always be one step ahead. That’s what I love about it, the challenge of helping others find the experiences they want to broaden their horizons in a constantly changing world.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in your business career?

Never stop learning. A bit cheesy I know but for me, this has kept me fascinated with how to improve products, help people and grow businesses in different ways. It means being constantly curious, it’s reminded me to actively listen and not make assumptions, both of which I’m still working on! My passion for learning also created opportunities to start teaching and mentoring which I now love doing; this also really helps refine and embed what I’ve learned. I always love a good book recommendation if you’ve got one?

Why did you join SilverRail?

The opportunity to build new products with SilverRail is very exciting because SilverRail has created products with so much potential that help customers far better than the current solutions in the marketplace. The timing couldn’t be better because the disruption and fragmentation in rail and MaaS has reached a tipping point and consumers need simpler solutions to consolidate journey planning, booking and ticketing.


To find out more about how SilverRail is changing the way people move by making rail easy for carriers, agencies and travellers, click here.

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SilverRail Extends Partnership with Virgin by Powering Virgin Trains Ticketing

London, UK, July 2022  

SilverRail, the B2B travel technology company that empowers rail operators and travel agencies to transform how they serve customers and run their businesses, is delighted to extend its partnership with Virgin Red by supporting Virgin Trains Ticketing with their new mobile app that allows any traveller to book UK train tickets from any provider across the National Rail network. 

The project will see SilverRail provide Virgin Trains Ticketing with a retail engine that covers the full customer journey, from planning to fulfilment and payment, underpinned by SilverCore, its multi-channel ticket issuing system (TIS). This will allow Virgin to own and optimise all customer touchpoints across its digital real estate. Click here to find out more about SilverRail’s Ticket Issuing System. 

The launch of Virgin Trains Ticketing follows last May’s update to the Virgin Red app, which enables members to buy UK train tickets whilst earning Virgin Points. 

David Pitt, Head of UK Rail at  SilverRail said:

“Virgin is famous for its great customer service and innovation, so we are delighted that the Virgin Trains Ticketing team has placed its trust again in SilverRail following our work in powering the rail proposition in Virgin Red. We look forward to Virgin Trains Ticketing providing customers with a compelling offer that will finally compete with the older digital ticket apps”. 

Virgin Trains Ticketing Director, Mark Plowright, said:

“Now more than ever, customers want to be able to book train tickets quickly and easily while they are on the move and our new Virgin Trains Ticketing app is here to do that while also rewarding customers for their loyalty. With the cost of living increasing, booking your train tickets is an easy way to earn Virgin Points on everyday spending. This is just the start of Virgin Trains Ticketing’s journey and we have lots more planned further down the tracks. In SilverRail, we have a technology partner with the knowledge and knowhow to help us transform rail retail for the customer”.


For media inquiries, please contact:  

Frederic Kalinke, Marketing Director at SilverRail

e: marketing@silverrailtech.com


About SilverRail Technologies (www.silverrailtech.com)   

SilverRail is delivering the digital infrastructure for the global rail industry.  

SilverRail’s technology makes rail easy for rail operators, travel agencies and travellers. Its product suite spans the full customer experience: journey planning, distribution, fulfilment, customer service and data insight. 

SilverRail:  

  • Handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year  
  • Distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers  
  • Processes more than 30 million bookings each year  
  • Serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide  

SilverRail was founded in 2009 and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.   

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SilverRail förlänger partnerskapet med SJ

Juni 2022

SilverRail, Travel Tech företaget som förenklar tillgången till globalt tågresande, är stolta över att tillkännage ett långsiktigt samarbete med SJ för att distribuera SJ:s utbud av resor till över 300 privat- och affärsresebyråer.

SilverRails kunder kommer snabbt och kostnadseffektivt få fortsatt tillgång till SJ:s hela utbud av produkter, tjänster, och priser samt tågresor från andra internationella marknader genom sin befintliga API-anslutning eller agentverktyg.

“Vi är glada över att förlänga vår relation med SJ och göra deras utbud tillgängligt för vårt stora nätverk av återförsäljare. I takt med att det internationella tågresandet ökar, är det också glädjande att kunna erbjuda våra svenska resebyråer en kostnadseffektiv och heltäckande lösning för bokning av tågresor, som gör det möjligt för fler resenärer att ta tåget över hela Europa.”

– Anders Aronsson, Head of Commercial

Utöver samarbetet med SJ fortsätter SilverRail att erbjuda övrigt svenskt utbud såsom Vy Tåg, Snälltåget, MTRX och Samtrafikens utbud av länstrafikbolag och marktransport. SilverRail kommer i närtid även att kunna erbjuda ytterligare nationellt och internationellt utbud. 

Dessa partnerskap är en del av SilverRails investering i Distribution+, nästa generations distributionsplattform, som befäster SilverRails långsiktiga engagemang för att förbättra ekosystemet för resor med tåg och marktransport.


För ytterligare information, vänligen kontakta:

Anders Aronsson, Head of Commercial på SilverRail Technologies

e: marketing@silverrailtech.com


About SilverRail (www.silverrailtech.com)

SilverRail delivers the retail engine for global rail. Its product suite spans the full passenger journey: trip planning, booking, payment, ticketing and aftersales.

SilverRail:

  • Handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year
  • Distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers
  • Processes more than 30 million bookings each year
  • Serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide
  • Was founded in 2009 and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.

About SJ (www.sj.se)

SJ is a Swedish travel company that offers sustainable train travel on its own and in collaboration with others. The Group has sales of approximately SEK 7.9 billion and has 4,600 employees. As a market-leading train operator, SJ connects Sweden, as well as Scandinavia’s capitals. Every day, 140,000 people choose to travel with one of SJ’s 1,200 departures from 284 stations.

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SilverRail Extends Distribution Partnership with SJ and Expands with New Carriers

June 2022

SilverRail, the travel technology company simplifying access to global rail, is proud to announce a long-term partnership with SJ, the Swedish national carrier, to distribute SJ’s rail content to over 300 leisure and corporate travel agencies.

SilverRail customers will be able to quickly and cost-effectively access SJ’s full range of products and fares as well as content from other international rail markets through their existing single API connection or agent application. 

“We are delighted to extend our distribution relationship with SJ and make their rail content accessible to our large network of retailers. As international rail accelerates, we are happy to provide Swedish agencies with a cost-effective and comprehensive rail solution that empowers more travellers to take the train across Europe.”

– Anders Aronsson, Head of Commercial

Alongside the SJ partnership, SilverRail continues to offer Vy tåg, Snälltåget, MTRX and Samtrafiken’s PTA and ground transportation content. SilverRail will soon be offering additional national and international markets.

These deals form part of SilverRail’s investment in Distribution+, a next-generation distribution platform, maintaining its long-standing commitment to improving the travel ecosystem.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Anders Aronsson, Head of Commercial at SilverRail Technologies

e: marketing@silverrailtech.com


About SilverRail (www.silverrailtech.com)

SilverRail delivers the retail engine for global rail. Its product suite spans the full passenger journey: trip planning, booking, payment, ticketing and aftersales.

SilverRail:

  • Handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year
  • Distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers
  • Processes more than 30 million bookings each year
  • Serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide
  • Was founded in 2009 and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.

About SJ (www.sj.se)

SJ is a Swedish travel company that offers sustainable train travel on its own and in collaboration with others. The Group has sales of approximately SEK 7.9 billion and has 4,600 employees. As a market-leading train operator, SJ connects Sweden, as well as Scandinavia’s capitals. Every day, 140,000 people choose to travel with one of SJ’s 1,200 departures from 284 stations.

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knowledge

SilverRail Technologies AB Appoints Tobias Carlborg to Help Deliver Distribution+

13th June 2022

SilverRail Technologies AB (formerly Linkon AB) is happy to announce Tobias Carlborg as its new Managing Director, taking over from Monica Öberg, who is stepping down following her successful transformation of the company.

Last December, we set out our vision to change the way people move through our investment in Distribution+, a next-generation content platform, maintaining our long-standing commitment to improving the travel ecosystem within Sweden.

The new solution will leverage the latest technology and best practice from across SilverRail’s global engineering and product teams, benefiting the 300+ retailers in Sweden who use our distribution hub to sell combined travel easily and cost-effectively. In addition, they’ll get access to the full range of rail content from new markets, such as France and the UK.

As such, it is a natural transition for Tobias to lead SilverRail Technologies AB as he has been at the company for over 7 years and will take on his new role whilst continuing to lead the global finance team.

“I am delighted to be taking over from Monica, who has brilliantly integrated the company into the global organisation whilst refocusing the platform away from inventory towards distribution. There will be some challenges ahead given the rail market dynamics both locally and globally, and I’m very keen to get started. Over the coming weeks, we have some exciting announcements so watch this space!”

Tobias Carlborg

“Joining SilverRail has been an incredible journey and I couldn’t have accomplished our transformation without the support and help from my fantastic team. While the last couple of years have had its fair share of challenges, I truly believe SilverRail has a strong future in the rail distribution space and I look forward to seeing its continued success”

Monica Öberg

We want to thank Monica for everything she has done and wish her all the best in her new role, where she’ll continue working with technology that makes the world a greener place.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Frederic Kalinke, Marketing Director of SilverRail Technologies

e: marketing@silverrailtech.com


About SilverRail (www.silverrailtech.com)

SilverRail delivers the retail engine for global rail. Its product suite spans the full passenger journey: trip planning, booking, payment, ticketing and aftersales.

SilverRail:

  • Handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year
  • Distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers
  • Processes more than 30 million bookings each year
  • Serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide

SilverRail was founded in 2009 and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.

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Making it easier to book international rail tickets for Nordic clients

Today, we’re excited to announce some product updates that help our Nordic clients sell international rail tickets more easily.

Throughout Europe, international rail travel is having a renaissance. Last year, SJ and Snälltåget, two Swedish rail carriers, launched direct services to Germany, whilst several other rail operators have for the first time in decades, resumed crossborder night trains. Moreover, as rail continues to liberalise, travellers should be able to get even more options to take trains to other countries.

Our mission here at SilverRail is to make rail easy for carriers, agencies and travellers, so given the surging interest in international rail travel, we’re delighted to have launched some platform enhancements that make it even easier for agencies to sell international rail tickets. 

Firstly, travel agents that use Linkonline, will be able to book international rail using the same flow that they use today for domestic bookings. Prices for international tickets, both for IRT and NRT fares, are also now visible in the timetable interface, aligning with how ticket prices are displayed for Swedish carriers.

Secondly, travel agents that use our Sales API will be able to book international rail using the same easy price query in our API that they use for domestic bookings. This makes the integration easier, with only one API call to receive prices for international tickets.

These changes are part of an ongoing investment in Distribution+, our next-generation content platform, maintaining our long-standing commitment to improving the travel ecosystem within Sweden. 

“This is a positive step forward in our mission to make rail easy. The new feature we’ve released today removes the friction for our customers when they’re selling international rail tickets either through Linkonline or our Sales API. It’s part of a set of product enhancements we’re making as part of the wider Distribution+ investment”

Håkan Augustsén, Head of Portfolio Management

So, if you are a travel agency that wants to sell rail easily, get in touch. You’ll be joining over 300 retailers who use our products every day.

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SilverRail partners with Rail Online to improve the way rail travel is planned and booked

SilverRail, a global leader in travel technology, is proud to announce its partnership with Rail Online, a new online travel agency specialising in the sale of rail tickets.   

2022 is set to be a busy and exciting year for Rail Online. The company recently launched its booking platform in the UK and Australia with more carrier rollouts planned for Continental Europe and North America in the coming months. Customers across the globe can now book UK point-to-point rail tickets with multiple currency options at www.rail.online

Cameron Jones, Chief Strategy Officer at SilverRail said, “We’ve been impressed with the founding team that Rail Online has brought to the table. Our companies share a genuine passion for the sector and we look forward to working with them as they grow.”

James Dunne, co-founder and CEO at Rail Online is grateful to have the support of an industry leader like SilverRail who provide a simple and cost-effective rail booking, ticketing, and after-sales solution.

 “We want to make it as easy and affordable as possible for people to compare, plan and book their next rail adventure. SilverRail has helped us create a platform that offers a seamless booking experience with competitive prices and the ability to self-manage any changes or refunds. With the rapid advancement of digital ticketing in the rail sector, it’s time for a new player and we’re it,” said James. 

James and co-founders, Lachlan McCallum and Kew Muthalif are no strangers to the travel industry having all previously worked on the executive team of Rail Europe Australasia. The team are driven to promote rail travel as an elegant and environmentally sustainable way to commute and see the world. 

Juliette Thorpe, Senior Commercial Director at SilverRail, said Rail Online’s knowledgeable team and intuitive platform could make them a popular choice with both B2B and B2C clients. 

“It’s been great to work with a company that is so committed to increasing the uptake of rail travel. They’ve got ambitious plans for 2022 with new products in development that aim to make booking rail travel a breeze for travel agencies and consumers,” said Juliette. 

SilverRail and Rail Online look forward to an ongoing partnership that will help more people travel in a scenic and sustainable way.

To book, visit www.rail.online


Media enquiries

Frederic Kalinke

Marketing Director at SilverRail 

e: marketing@silverrailtech.com

James Dunne

CEO at Rail Online

e: info@rail.online

Cameron Jones, Juliette Thorpe and James Dunne are available for interviews on request.


About SilverRail Technologies

SilverRail delivers digital infrastructure for the global rail industry that makes online bookings easy for rail operators, travel agencies and travellers. Its product suite spans the full customer experience including journey planning, distribution, fulfilment, customer service and data insight. 

SilverRail Fast Facts:

  • Handles more than 1 billion online rail searches each year.  
  • Distributes tickets for more than 35 providers and carriers.  
  • Processes more than 30 million bookings each year.  
  • Serves more than 1,500 corporate customers worldwide. 
  • Founded in 2009 and has offices in London, Boston, Stockholm and Brisbane.  

About Rail Online 

Rail Online is a new online travel agency that helps travellers compare, plan, book, and travel by rail. The website has launched in the UK and Australia offering UK point-to-point tickets and Eurail passes. In 2022, the company will expand its offering across Continental Europe and North America. 

The founding team of Rail Online has over 30 years of travel industry experience and includes:

James Dunne – Chief Executive Officer

Kew Muthalif – Chief Technology Officer

Lachlan McCallum – Chief Financial Officer

With a focus on brilliant technology and customer experience, Rail Online’s mission is to become the world’s most valued and frequently used travel app for rail and public transport.

www.rail.online

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SilverRail Hires Roxana Diaconescu as Chief Technology Officer

We are delighted to announce that Roxana Diaconescu has joined SilverRail as Chief Technology Officer. Roxana has deep engineering and commercial experience in the travel and technology sector, having worked in leadership positions at Uber, Expedia and most recently Facebook.

In this blog, we interview Roxana to get her thoughts on travel technology, what she has learnt so far in her career and the big opportunity she sees at SilverRail.

Welcome Roxana – what is your background?

I am a technology leader, with expertise in building and leading software engineering teams and products within a broad application domain, including travel, big data, personal transport and remote work products that improve communication and co-presence. I hold a PhD in Computer Science and completed a few postdoctoral fellowships in the areas of distributed computing, massively parallel computing, and run-time optimisation for scaling systems and applications.

What interests you about travel technology?

I am particularly mission-driven as I believe that technology is here to serve a higher purpose (than itself) and I, therefore, look at how the mission of a company or a domain resonates with me. To me, Expedia and Uber were both trying to democratise travel and personal transport (sharing economy) respectively, and that kind of mission really resonates with me. In the same way, I saw Cloudera as democratising access to Big Data and supporting Open Source so that smaller players have access to the same kind of tools and technologies that big companies do, thereby levelling the playing field.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt in your business career?

As mentioned before, I believe that technology can have a significant positive socio-economic impact. When my personal values and work ethic are aligned with that, then my personal impact within the business tends to be the strongest. I’ve learnt that finding meaning in the work that I do is important not only for me but for the people and the teams that I lead. It acts as a powerful motivator and inspires people to be the best versions of themselves. That is really all that any business can hope for: that everyone does their absolute best.

Why did you join SilverRail?

In joining SilverRail, I hope to play a part in climate tech and the clean travel movement. SilverRail has deep expertise in building the foundations and standards that make train travel accessible online, as well as optimising door-to-door travel in an environmentally conscious manner. The rail industry has been lagging behind technology-wise and it is inspiring to me to see how far the company has come in tackling such a complex problem across the globe.

For a long time, the tech industry has been enamoured with solving problems of their own creation. I am humbled to put all my experience, expertise and willpower into playing a small part in solving a problem that deeply resonates with me, my children’s generation and which is possibly the most critical issue facing humanity.

To find out more about how SilverRail is changing the way people move by making rail easy for carriers, agencies and travellers, click here.