More Night Trains for Europe

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,173
Location
Denver
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 .
I agree with you regarding the courtesy of DB station staff. In 2008 at Erfurt after a bus bridge through Suhr made me miss a connection they hand-wrote on the margin of my home-printed ticket an ICE connection via a Leipzig cross-platform transfer as a substitute for my 2nd class trip through Halle. I can now say I've visited Leipzig, though being on the platform for four minutes might not count.

The Bistro attendant on the last leg into Berlin was also good-humored and wasn't packing up early.

Before the bus bridge the conductor was informing us of it with her Saxon accent. There was a Chinese passenger who did not speak German and the sehr ernst conductor struggled. The Chinese visitor's English was good and I had read about the reconstruction work on the former GDR line, so we teamed up on the bus bridge to Erfurt, where his uncle was waiting. The conductor indicated relief.
 

slasher-fun

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Messages
67
Location
Paris, France
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.
Besides Covid, Thello had several other issues that led to those services being cancelled :
- On the night Paris-Venice train, border checks at the Swiss/Italian and French/Swiss border were common (although illegal by Schengen border laws...). Not really enjoyable to be woken up twice in the middle of the night.
- Both day (Marseille-Milan) and night (Paris-Venice) train services were "somehow" invisible from SNCF websites, which is really inconvenient when SNCF has a de facto monopoly. You would easily find Thello services on DB, ÖBB, SNCF, or CFF travel planners, but they would be suspiciously missing on SNCF websites... For example, the Marseille-Milan would only be shown on the Ventimiglia-Milan part, as if the Marseille-Ventimiglia part did not exist...

Thello should be coming back this fall, on Paris-Lyon-Milan routes, with two daily return high-speed trains, using ETR 1000 trainsets from Trenitalia (Thello is 100% owned by Trenitalia)
What makes you think that this connection is the result of a cooperation between Nightjet and SNCF rather than a mere coincidence?
Indeed, it is simply a coincidence.
Paris - Wien (cooperation between ÖBB / DB / SNCF) is coming back in December 2021, Paris - Berlin in December 2023.
 

Just-Thinking-51

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,316
Location
USA
border checks at the Swiss/Italian and French/Swiss border were common (although illegal by Schengen border laws...).
Pretty sure the very independent Swiss have never been in the Schengen Zone.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,633
Pretty sure the very independent Swiss have never been in the Schengen Zone.
incorrect . They joined in 2009 (I think )

but that said , I may be mistaken but I don’t think a Paris to Venice sleeper would take the route through Switzerland
 

Urban Sky

Service Attendant
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
120
Location
MTR
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 .
Agreed, but I couldn't find any rail company which seems able (or willing) to sell you a CIV ticket which includes a seat in the TGV and a bed on the Nightjet. SNCF seems to be able to sell you a seat on the TGV and on the coaches of the Nightjet (which are actually operated by Deutsche Bahn directly as IC 60470, unlike the Sleepers which operate in the same train as NJ 470). The ticket price (for July 2nd) was 268€ (thus $330-ish) and if you wanted a bed (without forgoing the protection in case you miss your connection), you would have to pay for a separate ticket with Nightjet on top of that...


incorrect . They joined in 2009 (I think )
They indeed joined in 2009:

"Switzerland was the 25th country from the European Union and European Free Trade Association to join the Schengen zone. It was set up to make travel between participating countries easier.

Aligning Swiss airports to the new system marks the final piece of the jigsaw that ended a process of preparation that stretched back to the signing of the agreement in 2004 and a positive referendum vote a year later."


but that said , I may be mistaken but I don’t think a Paris to Venice sleeper would take the route through Switzerland
The route via Dijon-Lausanne-Brig-Milan (i.e. through Switzerland) seems to be the most direct route, but this being a ÖBB service, I would believe that a routing via Strasbourg-Munich and then either Innsbruck-Verona or Salzburg-Villach is more probable...
 

slasher-fun

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Messages
67
Location
Paris, France
but that said , I may be mistaken but I don’t think a Paris to Venice sleeper would take the route through Switzerland
Well it does most of the time actually :) Runs via Vallorbe and Domodossola (and sometimes via Modane when it's not going through Switzerland for whatever reason)
The route via Dijon-Lausanne-Brig-Milan (i.e. through Switzerland) seems to be the most direct route, but this being a ÖBB service, I would believe that a routing via Strasbourg-Munich and then either Innsbruck-Verona or Salzburg-Villach is more probable...
Paris - Venice has never been an ÖBB service : it was Artesia (SNCF / Trenitalia in cooperation), then Thello when Trenitalia wanted to get rid of SNCF (Transdev / Trenitalia, then Trenitalia on its own).
Running it via Munich would be extremely long compared to the route via Switerland or Modane ;)
No resumption of this service is planned so far, whatever the operator.
 
Last edited:

Just-Thinking-51

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,316
Location
USA
No resumption of this service is planned so far, whatever the operator.
Correction there is a plan for trains from Paris to Venice and Paris to Rome. Just not by the last operator. This start up has funding available to them. So it a might be.

 

Just-Thinking-51

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,316
Location
USA
Oops my mistake, I was only thinking about serious proposals, not the "we're launching a five stars night trains in 3 years even though there's definitely no rolling stock available at the moment" one, but I hope I'm wrong about them :)
(Analysis of their plan: Midnight Trains - we wish them well, but where are the carriages needed going to come from? - Trains for Europe)
Interesting story you linked. I guest those Multi-system locomotives that are available today, don’t include France. As for the rail stock. This group might have funds or not. If they do have funds then just build new would be the way to go. Siemens is back up, however there not the only builder and some
seem to be ready with a quick turn around for Italy 200 kmh qualified railcars. As per your link story, I agree with the British and Spanish issue and would look into high speed trainset with a sleeper build, and a Talgo set for those counties.

They got a billionaire onboard it seem, so how much funding they can draw would be the key.
 
Last edited:

slasher-fun

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Messages
67
Location
Paris, France
Interesting story you linked. I guest those Multi-system locomotives that are available today, don’t include France.
Well they do, but even the most multi-system locomotives are limited to a few countries. European countries has a very wide range of voltage (1,5 kV, 3 kV, 15 kV, 25 kV, with different pantograph specs) and signalling systems (pretty much every country has its own, and the common "ECTS" is far from being widely available).
When an operator has a large set of a specific train, there's usually only a small subset that is qualified/certified for international services in specific countries (for example, within the set of latest bi-level TGV used by SNCF in France, some can go in Spain, some other can go in Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, and some other can only go in Luxembourg: none of them could run from Spain to Switerland or Germany for example. Oh, and none of them can go in Belgium or Italy).
And I'm not talking about different railway gauges in Spain (except high-speed lines), Portugal, and ex-USSR countries....

As for the rail stock. This group might have funds or not. If they do have funds then just build new would be the way to go.
[...]
They got a billionaire onboard it seem, so how much funding they can draw would be the key.
The problem is that "everyone" is looking at buying night stock, and factories are already booked up on a first come first served basis. Deliveries from ÖBB order made in 2018 to Siemens for ~230 Nightjet coaches will only begin next year (yup, that's 4 years for the first trainset), and having a billionaire on the board won't change that.
would look into high speed trainset with a sleeper build
Well that's something that hasn't been done so far in Europe. I only see France, Italy, and Spain that have a network large enough for the high-speed to be really a plus, but at least in France high-speed lines are closed every night for maintenance...
 
Last edited:

George Harris

Engineer
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,155
Location
now in California
Commenting on the following:
Just-Thinking-51 said:
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.
Also:
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 .
Apparently true for all their system. A person I worked with several years ago spent several days in France with riding the TGV being a significant part of their trip. They came back extremely disappointed.

And: Initially the track layout for the Taiwan High Speed Rail was done by a French-German group (after watching these in action you quit wondering why so many wars, and started wondering how they managed to have so few), basically using French operating concepts. After they were invited to go away, and not for the political reasons they claimed, a group formed by the Shinkansen came in and the system ultimately used their trains, signals, power, and track. One of their first questions was, "why so many 'escape hatches' in the system?" Truly after listing to all the French explanations it seemed to worthy of national news if a train made it through the day without breakdown. Among other things, their operational times were based on a certain percentage of traction motors being out of service. The Japanese looked at all this and said basically, if we are not 99.9999% sure the train will not reliably make it through the day, it will not go in service, and we make certain our shops perform thorough and timely maintenance. But then the Shinkansen has been operating much longer than the TGV and probably carries more passenger per day than the TGV does per month.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,633
depends what you call high speed .

Most modern cars being delivered today including sleeper cars are permitted for 200kmph which is about 125mph. Locomotives such as the OBB Taurus , which have also been sold to other countries including Hungary and Germany , can do more than that .

Thats not properly high speed of course but good enough to offer some competitive journey times .

The talgo sleeper trains as used for example on Berlin to Moscow can do that sort of speed too . Or could it the tracks were up to it .
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,633
One of their first questions was, "why so many 'escape hatches' in the system?" Truly after listing to all the French explanations it seemed to worthy of national news if a train made it through the day without breakdown. Among other things, their operational times were based on a certain percentage of traction motors being out of service. The Japanese looked at all this and said basically, if we are not 99.9999% sure the train will not reliably make it through the day, it will not go in service, and we make certain our shops perform thorough and timely maintenance. But then the Shinkansen has been operating much longer than the TGV and probably carries more passenger per day than the TGV does per month.
this surprises me as the Shinkansen concept has pretty high levels of redundancy in everything . That’s part of the nature of and I expect their reason for going with the distributed traction concept from the beginning .
 
  • Like
Reactions: jis

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,307
Location
Nottingham, England.
Before the bus bridge the conductor was informing us of it with her Saxon accent. There was a Chinese passenger who did not speak German and the sehr ernst conductor struggled. The Chinese visitor's English was good and I had read about the reconstruction work on the former GDR line, so we teamed up on the bus bridge to Erfurt, where his uncle was waiting. The conductor indicated relief.
Languages are not my forte, so I too have appreciated translation help myself. In Spain, the train conductor struggled to explain in English how to transfer from the end of the line into Gibraltar. A spanish speaking American girl came to my aid.
Another time in the Czech republic, the ticket collector tried to explain about a last minute alteration, and a young lady translated for me, and even accompanied me part way to point out my new train.
Nothing lost in translation those times at least!
 

slasher-fun

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Messages
67
Location
Paris, France
But then the Shinkansen has been operating much longer than the TGV.
But the Shinkansen only reached "high-speed" (> 249 kph) in 1992 (300 series, running at 270 kph), while TGV has been running high-speed since 1981 (then at 270 kph).
and probably carries more passenger per day than the TGV does per month.
TGV carries 10 times more passengers per month than the Shinkansen does per day (so in other words, the Shinkansen carries 3 times more passengers per day than the TGV)
 
  • Like
Reactions: jis

Mailliw

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Messages
483
Location
Scranton, PA
Correction there is a plan for trains from Paris to Venice and Paris to Rome. Just not by the last operator. This start up has funding available to them. So it a might be.

Midnight Trains certainly seems intriguing, but I'm a bit concerned there was no mention of economy accommodations. That raises doubts about viability.
 

Just-Thinking-51

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,316
Location
USA
Midnight Trains certainly seems intriguing, but I'm a bit concerned there was no mention of economy accommodations. That raises doubts about viability.
Oh I am sure there will be a section for the common folks, if they are running 7 days a week. It just might have a different branding or exterior paint scheme.

Bad use of wording?
 
Last edited:

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,381
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Oh I am sure there will be a section for the common folks, if they are running 7 days a week. It just might have a different branding or exterior color.
People around here on AU have conniptions hearing the very thought of different external colors. The collective OCD kicks in pronto. :D
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
23,538
Location
Austin Texas
Languages are not my forte, so I too have appreciated translation help myself. In Spain, the train conductor struggled to explain in English how to transfer from the end of the line into Gibraltar. A spanish speaking American girl came to my aid.
Another time in the Czech republic, the ticket collector tried to explain about a last minute alteration, and a young lady translated for me, and even accompanied me part way to point out my new train.
Nothing lost in translation those times at least!
Who translates for you here in the Colonies Eddie?😄
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,633
Talking about languages .

One day when I was on the euro city from Vienna to Budapest the train stopped in the middle of nowhere just a few minutes after crossing the Hungarian border . There were several confusing announcements and after a. very long time the train set of backwards back to the border station where we were requested to change to a different train .

This was communicated to us by more confusing announcements by train staff who didn’t know much German and hardly any English and said things that frankly made no sense using words that don’t actually exist . There was an American couple in the same car as myself and they didn’t understand what was going on . So I did my best to translate . I have learnt some Hungarian but it’s really not good . But I managed to find a conductor and ask what was going on and did my best to translate .

Somehow word got around that there was actually somebody who understood and could translate and soon lots of other people were coming to me with questions and I did my best to help them as well as I could .

so I guess I was the hero of the day .
 

George Harris

Engineer
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,155
Location
now in California
Well, I see my positive comparison of Shinkansen to TGV caused a little uproar, so here are some explanations:

Why the TGV, or anybody else with overhead electric chooses to operate power car plus non-powered coaches is beyond me. The "distributed power", in other words EMU (electrical multiple unit) concept makes much more sense for several reasons: First power to weight ratio relatively consistent with varying train length. With motors on all or most axles, you have eliminated/reduced adhesion issues at high speed and with wet/icey rail conditions. Incidentally the Shinkansen end cars are not powered, as they would have lower adhesion than the cars behind the first unit. The Shinkansen sets are quite capable of running smoothly at 300 km/hr+. Riding the Taiwan trains both during testing and after regular service started, there is no sense of really high speed unless you are looking out the window and watching the catenary poles go by like fenceposts.

The lower speed prevailing on most of Japan's Shinkansen lines is due to alignment geometry, not ability of the equipment. Remember, when the Shinkansen lines were first built 200 km/hr was essentially considered the edge of the earth so far as practical speed on rails was concerned. Obviously we now know that is not true, and a lot of that knowledge was gained by observation and experimentation on these same Shinkansen tracks, but there is a practical limit of comfort, which is significantly lower than the practical limit for safety, on curves, and the Japanese are pretty well stuck with the alignments from when first built.

There may be mechanical redundancy in the equipment, however, again, the Japanese concept is that there will be NO on line failures other than due to catastrophe. There have to my knowledge been only two Shinkansen set derailments, ever, and in both cases earthquakes were involved. As to their rate of on-line failures, I don't know but I do know the Japanese considered the French insistence for provision of escape tracks at the exit end of all station tracks for stashing on-line failed equipment to be nuts.
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Messages
12
Location
PNW
This is such good news all in all. Once again, Europe is leading the way...this kind of service expands the reach of rail as an alternative to air travel between a whole new class of endpoint pairs. I wonder how long it will take for North Americans to figure out that there's so much more to high(er)-speed rail than just day trains. My last experience with this kind of train was the Palatino from Rome to Paris, which I believe is now branded as Thello but is still basically the same train I took back in 2009. Service was basic (food cart wheeled past each compartment with snacks and drinks, tray breakfast) but unobtrusive and perfectly adequate for a dusk-to-dawn trip. I don't recall being awakened for anything...went to bed in Italy, woke up in Paris.
 

slasher-fun

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
Messages
67
Location
Paris, France
I wonder how long it will take for North Americans to figure out that there's so much more to high(er)-speed rail than just day trains. My last experience with this kind of train was the Palatino from Rome to Paris
Which has never been a high(er)-speed train, its max speed was 160 kph / 99 mph :) (I don't think there are many 200 kph / 124 mph night trains in Europe, and there's definitely none (with proper night stock) going faster than that)
which I believe is now branded as Thello but is still basically the same train I took back in 2009.
No, it was discontinued in 2012 (end of Artesia), restored in 2013 (by Thello), and then discontinued again in 2014.
 

cirdan

Engineer
Joined
Mar 30, 2011
Messages
2,633
Which has never been a high(er)-speed train, its max speed was 160 kph / 99 mph :) (I don't think there are many 200 kph / 124 mph night trains in Europe,
There aren't many now. But new cars being ordered today will hopefully still be around in 30 years or more, so it's about future proofing.
 
Top