A great idea this week by the high speed train operators Eurostar, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, SNCB, NS Hispeed, ØBB, SBB and Thalys, Lyria and Alleo; they’re going to create a single tariff system for their combined high speed rail system. Reductions and special offers in one country will be available to customers in all the other countries etc. One step closer to a united Europe.

So far, so good. I found out however that while the tariffs become clearer, the names don’t. Today on the website of Deutsche Bahn I saw the mention of an ICE Sprinter, which is an extra fast InterCityExpress train that halts only on a few stations on the line, thereby winning time. French long-distance TGVs do this by default.

Ironically (?), Sprinters are the new and hip trade name (well actually the name existed already since the 70s for the SGMs) of commuter/regional trains of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen - replacing the clear but rather dull name Stoptrein. Now, I don’t know how it is in the rest of the world, but commuter trains are quite the opposite of extra fast.

Both sides have a fair argument for their choice of name; Sprinters are usually fast (point for DB), but they’re also specialised at short distances (point for NS).

One Europe, what a great idea. Let’s start with common and clear names for our products.