More Night Trains for Europe

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Just-Thinking-51

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,214
Location
USA

So yes this pre COVID but still all the different players getting involved in sleeper trains.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,055
Location
Denver

So yes this pre COVID but still all the different players getting involved in sleeper trains.
I like Nightjet, especially the rooms with a window for the upper berth. And I especially get a kick out of Nightjet because they ought-thought Deutsche Bahn. With the cooperation of SNCF, they created a useful Paris<>Freiburg<>Berlin overnight service.

My last experience with DB's City Night Line was reminiscent of the Southern Pacific; it was obvious that overnight passengers were not wanted in 2014. The photos show my Berlin to Amsterdam trip halted at Emmerich due to a Dutch engine breakdown. In photo 15k you can see the disconnected train line laid out on the platform, waiting for an "engine too far" from Arnhem Not DB's fault, but no attempt to ameliorate the situation. Booking the trip had been a hassle in the first place.

12k Strandee.jpg13k Stranded.jpg15k Dead at Emmerich.jpg
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
727
Its nice to see that overnight trains in Europe are expanding, but I am also envious. I would like to have more overnight trains in the US and a budget option. But I am hopeful, it European railways are starting to budge on conventional thinking, Amtrak probably will too. Especially considering the people running the show have the capacity to retire.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,055
Location
Denver
New routes continue to pop up:

Starting Sunday, June 27th, Transdev will launch a new overnight service Berlin <> Hamburg <> Malmö <> Stockholm with some intermediate stops. The service is to run daily till September 4th, then less-than-daily into October. As the French firm has ambitions to expand their overnight services my surmise is that if the bookings are strong the service will continue. If not, it will have been an interesting experiment and they can try elsewhere.

from Berliner Zeitung
 

Anderson

Engineer
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
9,700
Location
Virginia
New routes continue to pop up:

Starting Sunday, June 27th, Transdev will launch a new overnight service Berlin <> Hamburg <> Malmö <> Stockholm with some intermediate stops. The service is to run daily till September 4th, then less-than-daily into October. As the French firm has ambitions to expand their overnight services my surmise is that if the bookings are strong the service will continue. If not, it will have been an interesting experiment and they can try elsewhere.

from Berliner Zeitung
This is not unlike an existing seasonal service that SJ was running pre-pandemic, so I don't know if this is new vs being an old service getting revived and tweaked (whether under a franchise/operating contract with SJ or otherwise).
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,214
Location
Austin Texas
If I am ever able to visit Europe again, I look forward to trying out some of these Trains, along with the ones in the British Isles, including the Chunnel Train.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,666
Some of these new sleeper routes are not being listed as having new cars from builders.. I am wondering if some of the older ones that were "retired" have been refurbished to meet demand ?
 

Just-Thinking-51

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,214
Location
USA
New equipment is on order for NightJet. There is a large market of used equipment with different levels of refurbishment need. Everything getting launch in the next few years is refurbished, the new NightJet as of recently is only a painted shell.
 
Last edited:

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,055
Location
Denver
This is not unlike an existing seasonal service that SJ was running pre-pandemic, so I don't know if this is new vs being an old service getting revived and tweaked (whether under a franchise/operating contract with SJ or otherwise).
I omitted that. This route uses the Cold War Vogelfluglinie and I think the old route was more direct via the former GDR.
 

Green Maned Lion

Engineer
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,212
Location
NJ
It’s a lot easier to launch new night train services in Europe as there is a lot of still serviceable sleeper cars available on the sidelines, both from discontinued sleeper services in mainland Europe, and retired (but not completely used up) Eastern European (I.e. Comecon) sleeper cars that have been retired from the introduction of newer equipment from Siemens, Talgo, and Transmash on routes in those countries. They meet European safety regulations generally.

In the US there are only Viewliner and Superliner cars that can operate on scheduled mainline service, and the pre-pandemic Amtrak service basically used up everything but the 25 new Viewliner IIs that will easily be dispatched to existing trains as travel returns to normal. To launch increased sleeper service in the US you need new sleeper cars to be ordered, and they will certainly NOT be Viewliner-shell cars built by CAF. I would think the logical cars would be Euro-style transverse 2-berth rooms with a full side hallway, and not things built to use traditional American style roomettes and bedrooms. Although I suppose it would be logical to build the above styles both en-suite (bedroom) and not en-suite (roomette).

But my point is unless what seems to be a crowded order book for Siemens allows them to build US-spec cars similar to what they built for Russian Railways recently, a car will have to be designed, tested, specified, put out for bid, bids gone over, orders placed, endless delays endured, and hope that sometime before this process completes an anti-Amtrak government doesn’t come in and put a Wisconsin-style kibosh on the whole thing.
 

slasher-fun

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Messages
60
Location
Paris, France
This is not unlike an existing seasonal service that SJ was running pre-pandemic, so I don't know if this is new vs being an old service getting revived and tweaked (whether under a franchise/operating contract with SJ or otherwise).
It's not SJ that was running this train, but Transdev (Snälltåget). It was only running between Berlin and Malmö with no intermediate stops, and was put on a ferry between Sassnitz and Trelleborg. The ferry has been discontinued, so the train now runs via Hamburg and Copenhagen (not via the Vogelfluglinie, there are no more trains here either, but via the Great Belt Fixed Link), and is extended north to Stockholm. Night train Stockholm–Berlin | Snälltåget
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,532
This is not unlike an existing seasonal service that SJ was running pre-pandemic, so I don't know if this is new vs being an old service getting revived and tweaked (whether under a franchise/operating contract with SJ or otherwise).
I believe the previous seasonal service went via the Mukran / Sassnitz to Trelleborg train ferry . The new service is routed via Hamburg . So more opportunities to pick up passengers but less romantic
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,532
It’s a lot easier to launch new night train services in Europe as there is a lot of still serviceable sleeper cars available on the sidelines, both from discontinued sleeper services in mainland Europe, and retired (but not completely used up) Eastern European (I.e. Comecon) sleeper cars that have been retired from the introduction of newer equipment from
Partly correct .

a lot of the stuff that is available dates to the 1970s. Some even older with 1960s and even 1950s vintage still being available in Reserve or even active use in some cases . Much of it has been refurbished many times over and I wouldn’t wager how little of it is still original . Disregarding the very new stuff presently being delivered , the newest cars are circa 2003 but there are only a few of those . Then there are slightly more 1990 s cars which are probably the nicest but they are getting on in years now as well and some have already been retired , and this despite their being many cars still in use that are much older . I guess on average european night train cars are probably still older than mich of what Amtrak uses .

The Austrians are rebuilding some daytime cars into couchette cars to bridge the shortage . But in the longer run virtually everything that is still running needs to be replaced . It’s going to be costly and it will be a test to see whether the respective administrations can back up their words with money
 
Last edited:

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,055
Location
Denver
Although spending the night in the car deck of a ship with no AC wasn't exactly "romantic" ;)
In 1970 I rode Hamburg<>Copenhagen overnight. Although in August, the temperature wasn't the problem. Noise was. Chaining the cars down created a racket and then passengers were turned loose for an hour, then drifted back into the car. In the same year my partner and his wife rode the Night Ferry from London to Paris and had no noise complaints.

Thanks for clarifying the route.
 

Green Maned Lion

Engineer
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,212
Location
NJ
Partly correct .

a lot of the stuff that is available dates to the 1970s. Some even older with 1960s and even 1950s vintage still being available in Reserve or even active use in some cases . Much of it has been refurbished many times over and I wouldn’t wager how little of it is still original . Disregarding the very new stuff presently being delivered , the newest cars are circa 2003 but there are only a few of those . Then there are slightly more 1990 s cars which are probably the nicest but they are getting on in years now as well and some have already been retired , and this despite their being many cars still in use that are much older . I guess on average european night train cars are probably still older than mich of what Amtrak uses .

The Austrians are rebuilding some daytime cars into couchette cars to bridge the shortage . But in the longer run virtually everything that is still running needs to be replaced . It’s going to be costly and it will be a test to see whether the respective administrations can back up their words with money
They do need replacing, sure. But I have often felt that the problem with launching trains is proof they will work. If I can cobble together a reliable service with third tier cars, I can provide a proof of concept to justify the capital expenditure for new cars. If I don’t have the cars to test, for example, the market for an overnight San Francisco - LA so that I can justify putting together an order for new Cars, it is a lot harder to shut down objections that the market doesn’t exist:

If all it costs is a few million to refurbish a 30 year old car for a test train, it’s a lot easier than if the startup costs requires a several-hundred-million order for a large enough quantity of sleepers to justify tooling up to build them.
 

Just-Thinking-51

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,214
Location
USA
France is a hard place for open access operator. Flix Trains gave up on starting several routes, I read its was track access fees. The Italy operator Thello just threw in the towel on both there Day, and Night trains. So any start up is going to have issues with out a government contract or at least there cooperation.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,532
France is a hard place for open access operator. Flix Trains gave up on starting several routes, I read its was track access fees. The Italy operator Thello just threw in the towel on both there Day, and Night trains. So any start up is going to have issues with out a government contract or at least there cooperation.
another problem with France is that the infrastructure part of SNCF is notoriously unpredictable . In the past night trains , even SNCF’s own ones, suffered last minute cancellations because of lines being closed for night time maintenance. If that happens too often passengers lose confidence .

This is in huge contrast to Austria for example where maintenance related closures are publically announced months in advance and even so, OBB go out of their way to find alternative routings, only canceling trains as a last resort .
 

Urban Sky

Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
109
Location
MTR
I like Nightjet, especially the rooms with a window for the upper berth. And I especially get a kick out of Nightjet because they ought-thought Deutsche Bahn. With the cooperation of SNCF, they created a useful Paris<>Freiburg<>Berlin overnight service.
I'm neither aware of any Nightjet service serving Paris, nor of how any train linking the respective capitals of France and Germany could be sensibly routed through Freiburg im Breisgau...
 
Last edited:

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
28,839
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I like Nightjet, especially the rooms with a window for the upper berth. And I especially get a kick out of Nightjet because they ought-thought Deutsche Bahn. With the cooperation of SNCF, they created a useful Paris<>Freiburg<>Berlin overnight service.
I don't think the Paris - Berlin service is a NightJet service. It is part of the Paris - Moscow RZD service (EN453/24J) and the routing is Paris - Frankfurt (Maine) - Erfurt - Berlin.


Besides why would anyone go through Freiburg to go from Paris to Berlin?

I suppose one could create a connecting service from Paris to any of the stops of Nightjet 470/471 which runs Hamburg - Berlin - Frankfurt -Freiburg - Basel - Zurich but it won't be exactly a typical overnight service, since it would get into Paris late morning. It would be much quicker journey to connect in Frankfurt though, but there is a bit of a wait in Frankfurt since there are apparently no daily trains in the middle of the night from Frankfurt to Paris
 
Last edited:

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,055
Location
Denver
I'm neither aware of any Nightjet service serving Paris, nor of how any train linking the respective capitals of France and Germany could be sensibly routed through Freiburg im Breisgau...
Well, I did it and there were other passengers doing it. It was an enjoyable trip. The transfer in Freiburg im Breisgau occurs at civilized times. There are lots of hypothetical ways to run overnight trains between Berlin and Paris and I've ridden several of them when they were offered.

In 2018 which route would you have suggested?

In 2014 I rode the fading through City NightLine service.

03k City Night Line.jpg

Note: the Paris<>Freiburg TGV does not run daily year-round.

Paris Estab 17:23 TGV 9591TGV Duplex Richtung: Freiburg(Breisgau) Hbf
Reservierungspflicht , Pflicht zum Tragen einer medizinischen Maske , Globalpreis , Nichtraucherzug , Bar (Paris Est --> Strasbourg), Bar (Strasbourg --> Freiburg(Breisgau) Hbf), Rollstuhlstellplatz , WLAN verfügbar
Betreiber: SNCF
Freiburg(Breisgau) Hbfan 20:264
 
Last edited:

Urban Sky

Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
109
Location
MTR
Well, I did it and there were other passengers doing it. It was an enjoyable trip. The transfer in Freiburg im Breisgau occurs at civilized times. There are lots of hypothetical ways to run overnight trains between Berlin and Paris and I've ridden several of them when they were offered.

In 2018 which route would you have suggested?

In 2014 I rode the fading through City NightLine service.

View attachment 23282

Note: the Paris<>Freiburg TGV does not run daily year-round.

Paris Estab 17:23TGV 9591TGV Duplex Richtung: Freiburg(Breisgau) Hbf
Reservierungspflicht , Pflicht zum Tragen einer medizinischen Maske , Globalpreis , Nichtraucherzug , Bar (Paris Est --> Strasbourg), Bar (Strasbourg --> Freiburg(Breisgau) Hbf), Rollstuhlstellplatz , WLAN verfügbar
Betreiber: SNCF
Freiburg(Breisgau) Hbfan 20:264
What makes you think that this connection is the result of a cooperation between Nightjet and SNCF rather than a mere coincidence? Have you tried booking both trains in a single transaction on a single reservation (which is the prerequisite of receiving any compensation for travel and accommodation costs if you miss your Nightjet because your TGV is late)?

Nightjet.com does not recognize Paris as a valid origin and neither bahn.de nor oui.sncf.com show the connection via Freiburg (they instead suggest to join the Nightjet at 1 am in Frankfurt), even though bahn.de claims that TGV 9591 operates on July 2nd (and then again on September 9, LOL), so what do you do if your TGV breakes down and makes you miss your Nightjet?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: jis

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,532
I think if you have a CIV ticket the connection will be honored , no matter the routing . You might have to buy that ticket from a travel agent or station though as I don’t think any online system will give it to you .

you can in fact book via any reasonable route and the same applies .

if you book the journey as two separate legs on totally different tickets then indeed if the train is late you are on your own .

that said, my experience with DB station staff in Germany is that they do go out of their way to help you , even if they don’t need to or have to . I once missed a night train entirely through my own stupidity and the kind lady in the ticket office worked out a way to get me onto a later train at only minimal extra cost .
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,055
Location
Denver
What makes you think that this connection is the result of a cooperation between Nightjet and SNCF rather than a mere coincidence? Have you tried booking both trains in a single transaction on a single reservation (which is the prerequisite of receiving any compensation for travel and accommodation costs if you miss your Nightjet because your TGV is late)?

Nightjet.com does not recognize Paris as a valid origin and neither bahn.de nor oui.sncf.com show the connection via Freiburg (they instead suggest to join the Nightjet at 1 am in Frankfurt), even though bahn.de claims that TGV 9591 operates on July 2nd (and then again on September 9, LOL), so what do you do if your TGV breakes down and makes you miss your Nightjet?
The only TGV to Freiburg from Paris and the only TGV from Freiburg to Paris worked nicely with the Nightjet schedule. I don't have any inside info, but there were customers who had it figured out in September 2018. The load factor on the TGV was pretty low between Strasburg and Freiburg, which suggests that SNCF is running it for some future consideration.

If I had to change trains at 1 a.m. on a one-night trip I'd book a seat rather than a sleeping car room.
 
Top