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Press release: European Sleeper start date announced, investment in needed more than ever

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Yesterday, the exact date was announced that European Sleeper's long-awaited night train will run to and from Brussels. 25 and 26 May will therefore mark new steps for the night train's renaissance. Three times a week, the train will run a round trip via Belgium and the Netherlands. Unfortunately, not all the route can be run as far as Prague due to works on the Berlin-Dresden line, limiting capacity there and not obtaining a pathway.

Back on Track Belgium, the non-profit association working to make Belgium a hub for overnight trains again, is pleased to finally have some concrete news: "This train will make it possible not only to track overnight to the Alps but also to the great metropolis of Berlin which will make it possible to track further to Central and Eastern Europe. Admittedly, we are still waiting to see the quality of the carriages. As the cooperative itself pointed out, they are starting with rented carriages because new purchases due to the marginalisation of the means of transport by the (European) governments over the past 20 years, nobody - except the Austrian ÖBB with which is currently the market leader - has built new carriages yet. As the number of carriages remains the same and all carriages are already in daily service during the season, each new train cannabalises a piece of another night train, which is also one of the reasons why so few new night trains start.

To get more night trains, the carriage fleet needs to be expanded, and European Sleeper is aware of that. And the demand is there, we can see from the reactions now. A body, government or private coach builder, providing a pool of modern night train carriages would really mean a renaissance in supply. Just look at France. The French state is renovating carriages en masse and making them available to third parties (now only the SNCF until more suppliers arrive). This is a real renaissance. Belgium can do it too! We calculated this ourselves. It would only require a fraction of funds such as the Green Deal, Fitfor55.... Not only would the ecology benefit, but also the economy with more jobs, tax revenue...".

Our calculation can be seen here.

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