Through my train travel activities, I became aware of the Back-on-Track network. Back-on-Track is loose group of activists campaigning for better cross-border rail connections across Europe, in particular by night train.
In October 2018, I attended a conference organized by Back-on-Track in Vienna, Austria. Remember: At that point, it was less than two years ago that the night train was facing death in Central Europe, saved only at the last minute by Austrian Railways in the form of its Nightjet. So yes, the night train had survived, but was still in intensive care.
I traveled to Vienna all the way from Finland, using the Nightjet from Hamburg for the last bit. At the conference I met many interesting and very dedicated people. Passionate travelers like me, but also willing to fight for more night trains. One topic that came up was how to make their case more visible. My suggestion was to make use of social media, something that Back-on-Track had done rather sparsely so far.
What I didn’t realize right away: I was just holding my application speech for the position of Back-on-Track’s social media officer. Well, okay, since I think words should be followed by action, I agreed to take over their Twitter account for some time and wake it up from a years-long slumber.
One of the actions I was responsible for is the Night Train of the Week campaign. From December to February, we presented one particular night train route in Europe each week. For the routes, I designed infographics using Back-on-Track’s visual identity. In addition, I tweeted about impressions of the trains as well as the destinations.
The campaign was quite successful. Over its runtime, the number of followers has roughly doubled, from about 1,000 to 2,000 if I remember correctly. The revival of the Twitter account also sent a clear signal: Back-on-Track is alive and kicking.
But the truth is that working in such a large network involves a lot of discussion, but not always practical support. While that works well for some people, it didn’t for me. I realized that I can achieve more as an individual fighter. I think it’s totally okay to learn what works best for you, and I’m not bitter about it at all.
So after this and some smaller projects, I gave the Twitter account back into other hands. Of course, I still closely follow the activities of Back-on-Track and fully support their cause.