Night trains are making a comeback across Europe as governments, train operators and passengers fall back in love with this clean, green, comfortable and inexpensive way to travel.
Of course, in the age of COVID, night train schedules are a bit up in the air. But once all that has been cleared up I am certain we can all enjoy a train journey to mainland continental Europe.
The very idea of a night train seems romantic, exciting, steeped in the past like some sort of Agatha Christie Orient Express relic or a Trans-Siberian epic. But for decades, as governments focused on high-speed rail and cheap flights flourished, investments in modernising night trains slowed.
Travel and sleep at the same time
Now, across Europe, the night train is back — to stay — as old routes are reopened and new cross-border services start, carrying passengers swiftly and comfortably from one city centre station to another during the course of a good night’s sleep.
France has started revitalising its night trains as part of its bailout of rail operator SNCF, with trains from Paris to Nice and Tarbes set to return by 2022, offering passengers additional options to the TGV high-speed network. The Swedish government, meanwhile, is investing in night trains from Stockholm to Hamburg and Malmö to Brussels, to run as early as 2022, from where travellers can connect into existing high-speed rail daytime services — and even other night train networks.