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Night trains are coming back

After having been on the decline for a while, night trains are now becoming more and more popular and the train operator are expanding their services. ÖBB recently announced an order for 140 new coaches (20 trains) on top of the ones they already have on order. And some new services have been announced:

Amsterdam to Munich/Innsbruck/Vienna. It is now offical that night trains will return to the Netherlands in December this year. At the same time, Brussels to Munich/Innsbruck/Vienna will be expanded from twice weekly to three times per week. Apart from Amsterdam the trains will also stop in Utrecht and Arnhem.

Stockholm to Berlin, private operator Snälltåget have announced that they will run daily night trains between Stockholm and Berlin during the high season starting next year.

Paris to Nice and Paris to Tarbes, they are to return in 2022 according to a statement from the french government.

Paris to Vienna, ÖBB has said in a tweet that they plan to start night trains to Paris in 2024.

A couple of other routes that have been semiannounced but with no starting date set yet:

  • Malmö/Copenhagen to Brussels
  • Stockholm to Hamburg

A a couple of rumoured routes from reliable sources:

  • Zürich-Amsterdam
  • Zürich-Rome
  • Zürich-Barcelona
  • Paris-Berlin

And I guess there will be more new routes to come.

Posted by
31221 posts

Night trains may become more popular in future, as air travel has become somewhat onerous these days. I'd be much more comfortable with the greater space of a train (especially with a private compartment) than going through the usual airport dog & pony show and having to endure a cramped flight. There may be some cases where a budget flight is still the best option, but if night trains are available, I'd be more inclined to look at them now.

Posted by
1224 posts

Thank you, that's encouraging.

I'm surprised at the possible Zurich -Barcelona route. I'd have thought a service to/from Madrid would be more useful since it is the centre for connections to most of Spain. It could make a stop in Barcelona.

What I'd really like to see is services using the Channel Tunnel to run sleepers from provincial England, without a need to change in London. Get on in Leeds and sleep through to Paris or Nice. Or even day & night services to Rome or Berlin! But perhaps the economics, infrastructure / permanent way and timings don't make this possible.

Posted by
1854 posts

I've only taken one night train - Krakow to Prague. For security, I opted for a private compartment with en-suite shower/sink/toilet. I loved it then, one of my favorite travel memories and part of the adventure. I would be even more inclined to take one now, to have a private space.

Posted by
3047 posts

Stockholm to Berlin

Is this in addition to the Malmö/Berlin night train?

Posted by
2665 posts

I love night trains, so I'm happy more will be available.

Posted by
1765 posts

I'm surprised at the possible Zurich -Barcelona route. I'd have
thought a service to/from Madrid would be more useful since it is the
centre for connections to most of Spain. It could make a stop in
Barcelona.

There are probably good reasons for that. But I would like to stress that is is just a rumoured route.

What I'd really like to see is services using the Channel Tunnel to
run sleepers from provincial England, without a need to change in
London. Get on in Leeds and sleep through to Paris or Nice. Or even
day & night services to Rome or Berlin! But perhaps the economics,
infrastructure / permanent way and timings don't make this possible.

That would be great, unfortunately there are couple of obstacles in the way. Mostly political though so they could be solved if there is the political will. And when the channel tunnel was built, there were plans for night trains through the tunnel. A number of coaches were built, but ended up being sold to Canada. There is a wikipedia article about the trains: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightstar_(train)

Is this in addition to the Malmö/Berlin night train?

It is the Berlin-Malmö train being extended to Stockholm and rerouted via Denmark instead of using the ferry between Sweden and Germany.

Posted by
24893 posts

And when the channel tunnel was built, there were plans for night trains through the tunnel.

I also remember when it was expected that there would be provincial extensions to the Eurostar service at Waterloo from the North.

I saw many a ghost train making the parliamentary runs through Birmingham.

All so much smoke and mirrors we later discovered.

Posted by
113 posts

I concur with CWsocial and Wray above, I love night trains and also agree they add to the adventure, so am happy to see them making a comeback 😊. Now if only we could get to the point where travel is once again feasible (from a Covid perspective) and ... we’re allowed into the countries with said night trains ... something to look forward to anyways.

Posted by
12163 posts

Fantastic ! Thanks for the news.

When DB's "CNL" did the night routes, Amsterdam to Munich and Paris to Berlin were those in operation. With the end of CNL in Dec 2015, those routes were taken out. Now with this good news of restored routes, you have the night route option once again.

Paris to Vienna looks very doable, Paris to Berlin with CNL did that once, just bad luck to run into a school group occupying the same coach as I did...just a fluke.

Night service would never go out, maybe certain routes on night trains, which were indeed discontinued, but the service itself was retained. I am glad the OeBB picked up this.

Posted by
1765 posts

And since I focused a bit too much on future night trains, I forgot one that has already been lanched. In June private operator Regiojet started operating their new Prag-Rijeka night train.

Posted by
1765 posts

SBB and ÖBB have now confirmed that Zürich - Amsterdam will be launched late next year and that they are working on Zürich - Rome and Zürich - Barcelona but with no set launch date yet.

Posted by
1596 posts

they are working on Zürich - Rome and Zürich - Barcelona but with no set launch date yet.

According to the Swiss paper "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" that connections will materialize only if there are subsidies by the Swiss government. Since the NightJets are subsidized by the Austrian government as long as they run within Austria, which of course is not possible for these two connections, the Swiss government is expected to pay instead - from a fund for climate protection.