Today we have a dream to unify the whole Europe in one great country, because people are tired of this endless concurrence. We have a single market in a political and economical European Union, we have a single citizenship, the european one, which give us the right to be free and equal in every country meber of this union. Actually we started it after Second World War and one example of this unification of the old continent is the TEE or the Trans-Europ-Express.
The Trans-Europ-Express (TEE) were high-class, fast and exclusive first-class European passenger trains. Commissioned from June 2, 1957, they gradually disappeared from the mid-1980s, in favor of new trains InterCities (IC), EuroCity (EC) and high-speed trains.
At the end of the Second World War, European express trains presented a degraded image, due to the destruction of equipment and the aging of the latter, Pullman cars and beds dating from the 1920s. Steam engines, trains long border stops begin to date in the face of the rise of the automobile and aviation, which represents modernism. New fast and comfortable day trains connecting European countries are emerging. The principle of the “Trans-Europ Express” network (TEE) was formulated in the 1950s by the President of the Dutch Railways, Frans den Hollander. The inauguration of the new service took place in 1957 by a joint venture of the French, Dutch, West German, Belgian, Luxembourgish, Swiss and Italian national railways (later Austrian and Spanish). Soon, these trains are very successful, which offers an alternative between the train and the plane.
In Holl Hollander’s view, the TEE should not have been a joint venture of the various national rail companies, but a single, internationally-run company that would have benefited from the same personnel, equipment and administration for all countries. At the time, few lines being fully electrified, the use of diesel trains seemed the most appropriate. The management of the equipment remained very national, each country presenting the best of its technique: the West German Deutsche Bahn proposed, from the beginning, a very good self-propelled equipment, while France launched, shortly after, the most fast and most prestigious trains of the network, followed by Italy and Switzerland.
The TEE network reached its peak in 1972, serving almost 200 cities across the European continent, but the 1973 oil crisis prompted the railways to make savings by eliminating or trivializing the least profitable services. The second oil shock in 1979 brought a new blow to the network: only the busiest trains remained in service. However, there was no intention, then, to end the very existence of the TEE. Thus a last TEE is created, the Jules Verne, Paris-Nantes, in the service of winter 1980/81.
However, airline competition, for longer journeys and lower ticket prices, cause hemorrhaging of customers loyal to the TEE. Decline steadily increased in the 1980s to 1983.
Text by Claudiu C. CREȚU