Imagine boarding a train at night and waking up in a different city—or even a different country. If you’ve ever experienced it, you know that overnight rail travel has a charm all its own.
And soon you’ll be able to experience it again. Overnight service is set to resume under a memorandum of understanding between SNCF, Swiss Federal Railways (CFF), Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), which launched the project.
The aim is to create a Trans-Europe Express 2.0—named after the famous cross-border service that was discontinued in the 1980s—by building on ÖBB’s Nightjet brand.
Among the options now on the table is a Paris-Munich-Vienna line, which should launch in December 2021. Trains will join the existing Brussels-Vienna service in Mannheim, Germany, and cover the distance between the French and Austrian capitals in around 15 hours.
In December 2023, a new section between Mannheim and Berlin should allow for overnight travel between the German capital and both Paris and Brussels.
We’re still refining the routes, but we expect to add more night trains over the next few years:
- Zürich-Cologne-Amsterdam (December 2021)
- Zürich-Barcelona (December 2024)
- Zürich-Rome (December 2022)
Overnight trains have a long legacy at SNCF. They’re attracting a lot of interest today, not only from travellers but also from governments, because they’re essential to providing service to certain regions.Jean-Pierre Farandou, SNCF Chairman and CEO
An alternative to flying and driving
Overnight trains are an eco-friendly way to replace car journeys and long-haul flights. When you take a train, you emit 97% less greenhouse gas than if you drove your car. Night trains are also popular with families and young people because they save on hotel costs.