Sleeper trains are back in Europe

In 2022, a new sleeper train will join a network of planned routes that will connect cities across Europe, including Prague, Berlin and Amsterdam.

It joins a growing number of companies relaunching overnight train travel across the continent, such as the French rail start-up that plans to connect Paris to destinations like Copenhagen, Rome and Porto by 2024.

The French start-up, which is called Midnight trains, is described as a “hotel on rails” and will include an onboard restaurant and bar, as well as private hotel-style rooms. From its Paris base, it hopes to travel to 12 European destinations from 2024 and make the trip an adventure in itself for passengers.

The project is still in its infancy, but Midnight Trains is just one of many companies catering to a growing faction of travelers looking to swap the plane for slow, sustainable train travel.

French public rail company SNF announced in 2017 an ambitious plan to relaunch its sleeper trains and last month launched a night service from Paris to the Côte d’Azur with tickets starting at € 29 for the 12-hour journey. time. And there’s more in the pipeline with SNCF aiming to bring back a total of 10 bed services over the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, an overnight train from RegioJet and European Sleeper will connect Prague to Brussels via Dresden, Berlin and Amsterdam in 2022, with services such as free internet access, free breakfast and free coffee. RegioJet will also launch a new overnight train service this year on the route from Prague via Przemyśl, Poland, to Lviv, Ukraine.

The RegioJet sleeper train is the largest planned extension of the European night train network in years. The national railways of Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland have already announced a partnership to relaunch night services.

Just four years ago, Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national rail company, sold all of its sleeping cars, declaring them unprofitable due to low passenger numbers. But climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are changing the way travelers get from point A to point B, and some train travel in Europe is actually faster than flying.

Five more routes are expected to be launched over the next four years. By December 2021, a new night service will operate between Vienna and Paris via Munich, as well as between Zurich and Amsterdam.

Trains between Zurich and Rome will be on the schedule from December 2022. In December 2023, another service between Vienna and Paris will pass through Berlin and Brussels. Night trains will also start running between Zurich and Barcelona from December 2024.

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