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Gare du Nord in Paris

Night trains are coming back to Europe

Night trains are coming back to Europe

French Minister Delegate of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari used the re-launch of the night train route Paris-Vienna to announce even more rail connections within the whole of Europe

On Monday, the French Minister Delegate for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari announced his plans to revamp the French rail network and equip it with new night trains. The trains should connect Paris with a number of cities on the national level like Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Perpignan, but it also calls for a European-wide expansion of night trains.

The first portion of the train expansion is the re-launch of the night train from Paris to Vienna, which set off on its first route since 2007. The route follows the now legendary Orient Express, while the re-launch is the first of many steps to wean European travel off of budget airlines.

An expansion as large as this could signal the comeback of Europe’s great rail network. Trains have the potential to deepen integration and they offer a more sustainable means of transporting both goods and passengers.  

Making trains great again

Jean-Baptiste Djebbari wants to work towards bringing back overnight rides to Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Rome, Luxembourg, Prague and Brussels. According to a statement he made on Sunday, on the relaunch of the Paris-Saint Sebastian (Spain) line, he said he hopes for at least 10 international train lines by 2030.

Map trainsA map of the proposed train lines, Source: Jean-Baptiste Djebbari on Twitter

To do this, he intends to launch the night connections with new train cars. On Monday, he specified that nearly 300 new night cars and 30 locomotives will be ready somewhere between 2025 and 2030 and will cost around 800 million euros. Additionally, Djebbari said that he would start working on collaboration agreements between neighbouring countries in early 2022.

Luxembourg is one of the capitals that will benefit from the expansion, as citizens of the Grand Duchy will be able to travel by night train to Barcelona, through Strasbourg. While authorities in Luxembourg have been receptive to the proposal, the Luxembourgish Minister of Transport François Bausch said that the line will not be completed until the end of the decade.

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