Berlin's Central Station is one of the terminuses of the new line, though next year the service will go even beyond, Source: Depositphotos

First direct night train between Berlin and Brussels since 2008 departs today

First direct night train between Berlin and Brussels since 2008 departs today

An Amsterdam-Barcelona route is also in the works, with a potential stopover in Paris

We are certainly living in a train travel Renaissance in Europe, once a mobility mode considered a bit retro and outdated. A big part of what used to be wonderful about train journeys was the option to travel while you sleep thanks to carriages equipped with beds.

Railway startup European Sleeper has decided to revive exactly that spirit with the launch of a Brussels to Berlin night train line. The first train of this service leaves the station today.

The last time it was possible to take a night train between these two European capitals was in 2008, so the return of that type of service is a sign of shifting attitudes in society and the business sector towards greener mobility, even if it takes longer to travel. Policymakers are also on board, remember that 2021 was the European Year of Rail.

The service will run three times a week in each direction, departing Brussels on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:22 p.m. and arriving in Berlin the next morning at 6:48 a.m. On the way back, the European Sleeper train will leave Berlin on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 10:56 p.m. and roll into Brussels Midi/Zuid at 9:27 a.m. the following morning.

The route will pass through other major cities, such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. What’s more, there are plans to extend it beyond Berlin so that it will reach Dresden and Prague in 2024.

Stress-free travel to expand across the continent

The Dutch-Belgian startup company has the ambition to make night travelling fashionable again and to wean the European public from its dependence on budget airlines. The latter have become less low-cost in the context of inflation surges.

The company promises to add a new connection to the map every year. The next big railway service in the books is one that will start from Amsterdam and end in Barcelona in order to open up the Mediterranean.

That route will also go through Brussels and potentially Paris and is expected to start operating sometime in 2025 or 2026. It has also been cited as one of the 10 pilot projects to receive funding and support from the European Commission with the aim of boosting cross-border travel and making Europe a legit and functioning single railway market.



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