(Bloomberg) --

France and Germany announced a plan to strengthen their rail links as a way to offer greener travel between the two countries.

The nations “support the deployment of the high-speed train route between Paris and Berlin, as well as the night train service, both announced for 2024,” according to a joint declaration released after a meeting in Paris between Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz.

They also plan to create by next summer a rail ticket for young people to travel cheaply across the two countries. 

France’s SNCF and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, both publicly owned, have previously said they were planning a direct high-speed service between the nations’ capitals at the end of this year. Environmentally-conscious travelers are increasingly hungry for rail options to avoid flying gas-guzzling planes, with connections such as Paris-Barcelona showing strong demand. 

Macron’s government has sought to restore some of France’s night-train connections, such as between Paris and Nice, in the name of the green transition, after failing to invest in them for years. The French president also said he would ban domestic flights when a rail alternative of less than 2.5 hours is available but the measure hasn’t entered into force.

Currently it takes at least 8 hours, and often much longer, to travel between Paris and Berlin by rail. Paris and Frankfurt are already connected by a high-speed train.

Macron, Scholz and their respective cabinets met in Paris on Sunday to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Elysee Treaty, which was meant to seal post-war relations between the two countries and to renew calls for a more closely aligned Europe. 

(An earlier version corrected the characterization of Macron’s flight ban proposal.) 

(Updates with details of Sunday’s meetings in final paragraph.)

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