How Europe’s night trains came back from the dead

how europes night trains came back from the dead

(CNN) — Going to bed in one major city and waking up in another; toasting the landscape as a new country slips past; being rocked to sleep as you rattle across a continent. It’s no wonder that the night trains of Europe have been a byword for romance, immortalized by writers such as Agatha Christie.

Until recently, however, the reality has been very different. In fact, over the past decade, much of Europe’s night train network has been cut.

2013 and 2014 saw the culling of lines from Paris to Madrid, Rome and Barcelona; Amsterdam to Prague and Warsaw; and Berlin to Paris and Kiev.

For many, it seemed the end of the line was nigh.

But recently there has been a resurgence of night trains across Europe. And on December 8, four national rail providers teamed up to announce new routes between 13 European cities.

Back on track

By December 2021, Vienna-Munich-Paris and Zurich-Cologne-Amsterdam will be up and running.

Two years later, a Vienna/Berlin to Brussels/Paris will launch. And in December 2024, sleeper trains will start running between Zurich and Barcelona.

“Four routes, connecting 13 cities — that will make things easier for people.”

Rajesh says that she’d love to see an overnight train on the “key route” of Paris to Rome, but she thinks the future of sleeper trains on the continent is rosy.

“They’re great because they save you from paying for a hotel.

“You leave work at a normal time, have dinner, make your way to the station, get on the train, and wake up in the place you want to be. There’s no turning up at the airport at an unearthly hour, as you do for a budget flight.

“Trains deposit you in the heart of the city.”

Romance on the rails

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