UK train companies will stay in the Interrail scheme, reversing Wednesday’s decision, the operators’ group says.
Launched in 1972, the Interrail pass enables European citizens to travel around 31 countries by train and ferry, while the older Eurail pass lets non-European citizens do the same.
Pulling out of both schemes would have meant continental Interrail travellers could have travelled as far as London, but their passes would not have taken them any further.
British travellers would have been able to buy passes around the continent, but they would not have been valid on UK railways apart from in Northern Ireland and on Eurostar trains.
The decision received heavy criticism on social media on Wednesday.
Mr Shapps tweeted: “It will make it harder for everyone else to explore the UK. A COUNTERPRODUCTIVE move in my view & I’m therefore calling on the RailDeliveryGrp to reverse their decision!”
Former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis tweeted: “This is closing Britain to the next generation of continental Europeans.”
The decision to restart talks and come to an agreement with Eurail was greeted with relief by some on social media, but others were less complimentary.
One Twitter user commented: “The fact you even considered it has caused severe reputation all damage for you.”
Others expressed doubt about RDG’s claim that it had “never wanted to leave” the Interrail scheme.
Over the decades Interrail journeys have been a rite of passage for millions of mostly young tourists, although older people use the pass too.
On Wednesday RDG claimed that Eurail Group had pushed it out of both schemes following a dispute.
The argument was over Eurail’s decision to merge its two passes into one, RDG said. It feared the new pass would clash with its own Britrail pass, also aimed at non-European citizens, which covers UK rail travel and offers discounts on local tourist attractions.
But Eurail disputed this version of events, saying that RDG had pulled out after failing to “secure a competitive position” for Britrail.
The UK is at risk of slipping into recession, according to a closely watched survey of industry managers.
The dominant services sector grew only slightly in August, the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) from IHS Markit/CIPS suggests.
“The lack of any meaningful growth… raises the likelihood that the UK economy is slipping into recession,” said IHS economist Chris Williamson.
The construction and manufacturing sectors also shrunk in August.
The services sector accounts for 80% of the UK economy.
According to IHS’ survey, the sector barely expanded in August, achieving a score of 50.6 – down from 51.4 in July. Anything above 50 marks growth, while a lower number indicates a contraction.
However, the figure including manufacturing and construction was 49.7, the second contraction for the private sector in three months.
IHS Markit said Brexit uncertainty and higher business costs were to blame.
“While the current downturn remains only mild overall, the summer’s malaise could intensify as we move into autumn,” added Mr Williamson.
Between April and June the UK’s economy contracted for the first time since 2012. A recession occurs when the economy contracts in two consecutive quarters.
According to IHS Markit, UK firms are hiring and taking on new clients at a slower pace as they try to gauge whether the government will quit the European Union without a deal at the end of October.
Service-based firms, which include hotels, restaurants, banks and insurers, are also seeing profit margins squeezed by rising staff wages , fuel costs and utility bills, the survey found.
This measure also slipped into negative growth in 2016 following the Brexit referendum and in 2012, around the time of the European sovereign debt crisis.
The numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt, said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
“PMIs are excessively influenced by business sentiment and have given a misleadingly weak steer during the past 12 months of heightened political uncertainty. Note too that they exclude the retail and government sectors, which still are growing,” he said.
He expects a 0.4% gain for the economy in the July to September period, assuming a deal is struck with the EU ahead of the UK’s departure.
When official estimates were published last month showing the economy contracting in the second quarter of the year, it didn’t yet indicate a recession.
For that, according to convention, you need two consecutive quarters where the economy shrinks.
Optimists hoped that the second quarter had been artificially depressed: as companies ran down stocks they had built up ahead of the cancelled March 29 Brexit deadline, they had less need to buy new supplies and that meant less economic activity.
The hope was that once that stockpiling effect was in the past, the economy would show a bounce-back.
The latest figures from purchasing managers (the finance directors and senior managers who watch their new orders and buy new supplies) – suggest activity in production and manufacturing shrank sharply in August.
Today’s figures suggest the services sector which makes up about 80% of the economy is growing, but only just: perhaps not enough to compensate for contractions in the rest of the economy.
The creator of a hugely popular video-sharing app has announced it is branching out into making smartphones.
TikTok is the fastest-growing social media app, with about 500 million regular users.
The app, which lets people post 15-second videos, is estimated to have been downloaded more than a billion times on app stores.
TikTok developer ByteDance is making the move after acquiring patents and employees from device-maker Smartisan.
Besides TikTok, ByteDance owns several popular AI-based video and news apps, such as Slack alternative Lark, video-chat app Flipchat, and news aggregator Toutiao, but TikTok is by far its most popular offering.
The app has done so well with both Western and Asian audiences that it recently unseated Uber to become the world’s largest privately backed start-up, with a valuation of $75bn (£61.4bn).
According to Chinese financial magazine Caijing, the new phone has been in development for seven months.
ByteDance is not the first developer to capitalise on a popular app. In 2013, Chinese selfie-app-maker Meitu started making phones tailored to consumers who really like to take photos of themselves.
Meitu’s phones, promoted by popular Chinese social media influencers, feature dual pixel cameras with faster auto-focus as well as artificial intelligence to select the best customised photo-editing filters for each user.
But China has become a very competitive market for smartphone-makers and there are doubts yet another device will be able to stand out.
“It’s extremely difficult for any new entrants to break into the smartphone market profitably, particularly at a time when big brands such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei are carpet-bombing consumers with millions of pounds worth of marketing,” Ben Wood, technology analyst at CCS Insight, told BBC News.
“There are always niches that open up in the smartphone market but they tend to be ‘firework products’, starting with a big bang and quickly disappearing.”
Technology giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon have also branched out beyond their primary businesses but with varying success.
While Facebook is successful in social networks and communication, acquiring popular apps such as Whatsapp and Instagram, it failed to branch out into mobile with its own Android launcher app, Home.
Similarly, Google’s Pixel phones have been a winner but its social network, Google+, was finally shut down earlier this year after gradually declining use of the service.
And Amazon’s tablets and e-readers have been popular with consumers but its Fire Phone saw a frosty reception after it launched in May 2014.
Within five months, Amazon reported it had suffered a $170m writedown (£110m) due to the product. And it laid off smartphone engineers before pulling the product off the shelves in September 2015.