FOUR European national rail companies plan to extend the night network of sleeper trains after an announcement on Tuesday, December 8, promising to link 13 major cities.
The announcement of a €500 million investment promises to be the largest extension of Europe’s night network in many years as state railways of Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland join together in a plan to cut carbon emissions from travel by air.
The decline in night trains in Western Europe has been caused by the popularity of budget-airlines, although they are popular in Eastern Europe, where routes such as St. Petersburg to Moscow are served by fleets of sleepers.
So – today's press conference highlighted plans for restored night trains most of which had already been floated, but it still great to see commitment from both politicians & railway undertakings – and to see start dates in writing. Paris-Italy & Paris-Spain remain major gaps. pic.twitter.com/ZSiCLgTNAt
— The Man in Seat 61 (@seatsixtyone) December 8, 2020
20 new trains operated by Austria’s OeBB will operate the new routes and should bring to 1.4 million the number of night passengers the four operators carry each year.
From next December, sleepers will run from Vienna to Paris via Munich and from Zurich to Amsterdam via Cologne with routes from Berlin to Brussels and Paris and Zurich to Barcelona set to added two years later.
“Board the train in Munich or Berlin in the evening and arrive refreshed in Brussels or Paris the next morning,” said German transport minister Andreas Scheuer. “We’ll be travelling in a more climate- and environment-friendly way.”
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