Return of Paris-Berlin night train 'reshaping' Europe's geography in a sense | Train travel

TThe first night train between Berlin and Paris will depart on Monday night after a nine-year hiatus, filling a major gap in Europe's increasingly comprehensive night train timetables and seeking a viable alternative to flying. This will give a boost to travelers who are

The service, widely seen as the jewel in the crown of European rail travel, was discontinued in 2014 despite angry protests.

Berlin-based co-author of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide Nicky Gardner said the new nightjet service was an exciting and important contribution to Europe's infrastructure and integration.

“It strengthens the connection between two European capitals that do a lot of business with each other, and it’s also just a nice way to travel. We leave Berlin in the evening and arrive at 10am the next morning. “I can arrive in Paris by around 3:30 and catch the morning Eurostar and be in London by noon,” she said.

The fully booked train, featuring ordinary to luxurious sleeping quarters with private or shared spaces, some with private showers and toilets, departed from Berlin at 8:18pm on Monday night, stopping at Erfurt en route. The train will stop at Halle and arrive in Paris at 10:24am. , Mannheim and Strasbourg.

Operated by Austrian operator ÖBB, this train offers luxurious sleeping facilities. Photo: Harald Eisenberger

Austrian national railway operator ÖBB initially plans to operate the train three times a week. The train is scheduled to run every day starting next fall.

Mr Gardner said the time saved by overnight travel was one of the factors that made rail travel so appealing, but added that night trains, which have been making a comeback in recent years, could also help open up mainland Europe. Ta.

“It's like changing the geography of Europe because time spent on night trains effectively saves you time.Travels in Europe are so worth it because trains allow you to make the most of your time while you're sleeping. is.”

But despite the resurgence, she said night trains will only really come into their own over the next two to three years, once orders for new cars are filled and operators have enough cars on hand. He said it would be within.

“The ÖBB has cleverly used Vienna's location at its center to build a very imaginative new night train network. Despite supply constraints, I really think the future of night trains is really bright. I think so,” she said. she said.

Map of night train routes through Europe

Tickets are in high demand, with many of the most popular routes selling out within minutes of going online.

Gardner said the buzz and demand was so great that “it is now as difficult to secure a seat in a luxury sleeper car on a night train from Paris to Berlin as it is to reserve a table at the best restaurant in Paris.” ” he said.

Under the new service, the western German city of Mannheim will become the night rail hub, and the company's Brussels-Vienna and Paris-Vienna trains will also stop there.

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Passengers traveling from Brussels and Paris to Berlin and Vienna will travel to their destinations in separate cars on the same train, which will be reorganized in Mannheim.

The service is the result of a collaboration between Austrian, French and German railway companies that was unveiled three years ago, but ÖBB is highly regarded as the driving force behind its revival.

Cat Jones, founder of fly-free travel company Byway, which focuses on the “joy of travel” by combining high tech and human knowledge to find the best routes, said this would give Europe an “amazing boost”. He said he was deaf. train traveler.

quick guide

Let's burden the sleeper train


super cheap
On France's expanding night train network, cheap deals are available in the basement, with reclining seats starting from 19 euros one way and couchettes starting from 29 euros one way. Catch a snooze on your way from Paris to the Riviera or Pyrenees. New destinations starting this month from Paris include Aurillac, Béziers and Montpellier.

super long
For a marathon night train journey, look east to Türkiye. Closer to home, the longest regular night train in one country year-round is from Palermo to Milan at 12:58 p.m. The 21-hour, 12-minute journey also includes the oddity of having the entire train loaded onto a ferry across the Strait of Messina.

best amenities
try something excellent Caledonian Sleepers run trains from London to destinations across Scotland and feature double beds with en suite bathrooms. Enjoy priority access to the club car for dinner or late night drinks. Another foodie favorite is the Euronight service from Prague to Basel to Zurich. This service features dinner served in a Czech dining car as you cruise through the Elbe Valley towards Dresden.

the most romantic
Nothing beats the sheer joy of arriving in Venice by train, stepping out of Santa Lucia station and gazing out over the Grand Canal. Arrival is even more magical after a 12-hour journey departing Stuttgart every night at 20:29 on Nightjet. For a taste of winter romance, leave Stockholm's commuter crowds behind and catch the 6:08 PM to Riksgransen, arriving at Sweden's northernmost ski resort at 11:49 the next morning. Please come dressed warmly as the snow will remain until midsummer.

One for the future
There is a strong demand for quality night trains from France to Italy, so we are delighted that the new Midnight Train has chosen Paris-Venice as its debut route. But we will have to wait until 2025 for that to happen.
nicky gardner

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“It created a huge buzz because it has very important routes and important connection points, making it so fast and easy to sleep in Paris and wake up in Berlin. “You can now easily expand your trip to other locations and have a rich and enjoyable overland journey with multiple destinations,” she said.

“Sleeper trains are new, romantic and exciting for many people, especially those who are trying to act more sustainably. They may have never thought of going overland, but suddenly… They are in awe of the idea and rediscover the richness of the journey they once had. When they tell their friends, the idea spreads.”

As this trend grows, it is expected to become more affordable. For now, rail travel is still struggling to compete on price with low-cost airlines, Jones said, adding that Byway is involved in political lobbying to change the situation.

“There is a very strong movement towards rail reform, ticketing reform, accessibility and moving subsidies from air to rail, and we hope that over time this will make rail travel increasingly accessible to travelers on a budget. “I do,” she said.

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