Last night (Monday 11 December), a Berlin to Paris sleeper train made its debut journey after nearly a decade out of action.
The Nightjet service, operated by Austrian rail company ÖBB, will run three times a week, taking approximately 15 hours to travel from one major European capital city to another. By summer next year, the rail journey is expected to be running a daily service.
Departing from Berlin at 8.18pm, the first night train stopped off at Halle, Erfurt, Mannheim and Strasbourg, before arriving in Paris at 10.24am.
But this wasn’t the only sleeper train to launch this week – another ÖBB Nightjet service from Berlin to Brussels also commenced, allowing passengers to travel affordably between Germany and Belgium on the 14 hour service.
On board the trains are individual and shared sleeping compartments ranging from ordinary to deluxe. Some sections are also fitted with shower and toilet facilities.
Before arriving at their final destinations, passengers who book a sleeping car will also be treated to an à la carte breakfast with hot drinks.
Leonore Gewessler, Austrian Federal Minister for Mobility said: “Rail travel is climate protection, especially with the night train, which also makes travelling practical and convenient. Passengers can board a train in the evening and wake up refreshed the next morning in another European capital.
“With the new Nightjet connections, we’re bringing major European cities closer together and making climate-friendly travel in Europe even easier. I’m convinced that this is the future of mobility for us. Short and medium-haul routes in Europe belong to rail.”
Not long ago, sleeper trains were becoming something of the past, with the Berlin-Paris service being discontinued in 2014 due to decrease in demand.
But as the excitement of cheap flights has worn off, travellers have gradually started to appreciate slowing down and enjoying the journey again, resulting in a resurgence in rail travel – in particular sleeper trains.
CEO of the National Railway Company of Belgium, Sophie Dutordoir, also commented saying “night trains have played a crucial role in Belgian rail history” and the organisation was “eager to join the initiative to add more European cities to Brussels’ long-haul network”.
There are many cabin and seats options for all budgets.
Full timetable for Nightjet service from Berlin to Paris/Brussels
Berlin 20:18 – Paris 10:24 (Mon, Wed, Fri)
Paris 19:12 – Berlin 08:26 (Tue, Thu, Sat)
Berlin 20:18 – Brussels 09:56 (Mon, Wed, Fri)
Brussels 19:03 – Berlin 08:26 (Tue, Thu, Sat)