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End of an era: German night trains end operations Dec 2016

Please note that CityNightLine and all night trains operated by DB German Rail will end operations in December 2016.

They will be replaced by cheaper overnight busses and more fast late evening or early morning ICE services.

Posted by
2353 posts

Such a shame...but we all knew it was coming.

Posted by
4535 posts

Well it was a shame too when the horse and buggy were retired. The fact is that few people take night trains anymore because short flights are so cheap and high-speed rail has cut what used to be longer trips into just a few hours.

Posted by
8985 posts

It's quite sad. Forcing passengers to use polluting buses and aircraft instead of cleaner electric trains.
I guess Europe isn't always putting the environment ahead saving a few euros.

Posted by
12891 posts

Indeed it is a shame, totally agree. I don't like the pollution aspect of the bus either, but taking an overnight bus operated by DB is absolutely no problem. I'll just adapt to that option provided the routes are the same. If DB abolishes all night trains, that still leaves EC with the night routes....that'll work.

Posted by
16883 posts

Andreas, can you link your source for the latest news? Is it more recent than last December's note from the Man in Seat 61? Or do you work for the railway?

Addendum: I do see a few reports online dated this month, so I guess more news agencies will pick it up soon.

Posted by
4535 posts

It's quite sad. Forcing passengers to use polluting buses and aircraft instead of cleaner electric trains.

I'm not so sure about that. Many night trains have been replaced with high-speed trains. Most night trains make their overnight trip work by stopping and waiting on sidings. So people now have a more convenient daytime train option.

And buses were never replaced by trains. They have remained around despite the ever improving rail service. So the few remaining people that want to travel overnight can take a small bus versus a large train.

And for longer distance travel, an airplane just makes more sense than an 12-18 hour rail journey.

Posted by
5863 posts

It's quite sad. Forcing passengers to use polluting buses and aircraft instead of cleaner electric trains.
I guess Europe isn't always putting the environment ahead saving a few euros.

While trains generally are a better choice for fuel economy, you do have to take into account that Germany gets much of it's electricity from coal fired plants, so even trains are far from "carbon free". Operating limited bus service vs dedicated trains may actually be a better environmental choice.

Posted by
503 posts

While I understand why the night trains are being eliminated, it does make me sad. Looking back on some of my earlier trips to Europe, I remember saving money by taking night trains, therefore no having to pay for a room and also not wasting daylight hours getting to places we were going to go to anyway. Always felt pretty crappy the next day, though! I can't imagine that overnight bus trips can be very comfortable.

Posted by
12891 posts

In 2001 I took the day train Krakow to Berlin Zoo direct, 9.5 hrs, went through all the historical towns known then as Kattowitz, Gleiwitz, Liegnitz, and Breslau. That train route has been replaced by a bus the DB Inter City bus..night time too. DB is not the only ones running long distance buses in Germany. There are at least 2 other German companies I can think of that run night buses along with the EC night routes. There is still hope in using that option.

Posted by
8985 posts

And for longer distance travel, an airplane just makes more sense than
an 12-18 hour rail journey.

Speak for yourself. I'll take a city center to city center night train any day over dealing with airports, security, and the transport hassles of getting to/from airports anytime. I'm going to miss the City Nightline first class cabins, laying in my bed and watching the scenery go by in my underwear.

Posted by
4535 posts

Michael - I've done those 12 hour plus trips and made an event of them. I once took an overnight train out of Copenhagen, had breakfast in Cologne and stopped in to see the cathedral. Lunch was mussels and frites on the Grand Place in Brussells. And dinner was in my destination of London.

But most American tourists don't have that kind of time. As much of a PIA it is to fly, it would make much more sense for the typical tourist to make that trip by flying.

Nostalgically, I will miss the "romance" of night trains. But they just aren't generating income as few people are choosing romance over efficiency.

Posted by
2353 posts

I agree Michael - I will miss the night trains too. We always made an event of it - I would specifically choose the longer routes to avoid late departure and early arrival! If there was not a restaurant car we would take along a picnic & wine. I loved waking up in the middle of the night and seeing what station we were stopped at.

I for one would rather take a beating than fly if there is a train that will get me there. I am fortunate enough to have that kind of time.

I have a hard time grasping why the folks who do like them revel in their demise - it's not like you were ever forced to use them.

Posted by
8985 posts

But most American tourists don't have that kind of time

Speak for yourself. I'm an American, get five weeks of vacation a year but can only take them one week at a time. Thus I have never visited Europe for more than 8 consecutive days, yet still found time to include night trains in my itinerary. Wasn't too hard of course since they actually gave me more time and made my travels more efficient.

Posted by
12891 posts

"...just makes more sense...." Does it really? That is totally relative and up to the individual traveling.