New night train routes to connect cities across Europe

New night train routes to connect cities across Europe

New night train routes to connect cities across Europe

All aboard the night train to Paris! Deutsche Bahn and three other railway companies are looking to revive night train connections between a number of European cities. With the first trains departing in late 2021, it won’t be long until you’re falling asleep in Berlin and waking up in Paris - or Brussels - or Barcelona! 

Deutsche Bahn signs pact to revive European night trains

Four years ago, Deutsche Bahn announced that it was stepping away from night-time train services, blaming high costs and low passenger numbers. But now, against the backdrop of the worsening climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic, the German rail company has had a rethink. Together with SBB (Switzerland), ÖBB (Austria) and SNCF (France), they have decided that the night train should once again become an alternative for long-distance travel through Europe. 

This week, four major European railways, including Deutsche Bahn, signed a cooperation pact to revive a number of overnight train services. Starting from next year, there will be new connections across Europe, with four new night train lines due to connect a total of 13 European metropolises. 

Two of the new lines will come as early as December 2021, connecting Vienna, Munich and Paris, as well as Zurich, Cologne and Amsterdam. A Zurich - Rome route will be added in December 2022, and one between Berlin and Brussels is due to arrive in December 2023. The final connection, between Zurich and Barcelona, should be operational by December 2024. 

night train routes europe

Image credit: Deutsche Bahn

A real alternative to flying within Europe

While the decision to revive these symbolic night train connections may seem like an exercise in nostalgia, the brains behind the scheme see it as a key component of Europe’s mission to reduce carbon emissions. “It is clear to me that night trains are the ecological alternative to short-haul flights and car journeys,” said the Austrian Transport Minister, Leonore Gewessler. 

The initiative has its roots in a campaign for a European night train network, started by several German Green politicians at the end of the last year, “not out of nostalgia” but as an “attractive alternative to European air traffic.” The plan’s backers say that the amount of CO2 produced per passenger on a night train from Paris to Vienna is 10 times less than on a flight. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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