Recently, there have been several examples of possible evolvement of night train services in Europe. Emmanuel Macron mentioned during his national day speech a coming massive expansion of the French railway system – including night train services. Afterwards the French transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari announced that two new night train routes (Paris-Nice and Paris-Tarbes) are planning to be launched in 2022. Meanwhile, the existing night train rolling stock will be refurbished. Shortly the French government will publish a report about the development of night trains. (1)

As well Europe’s current most prominent sleeper operator Austrian ÖBB is planning for an extended night train network and recently announced a tender for 20 additional night train sets to be delivered in 2024/2025, after the already ordered 13 sets that will be delivered in 2022. The investment comprises 500 million €. (2) In Hungary the state railway operator has announced a tender for 22 sleeping and couchette coaches with power supply prepared for cross-border operation. (3)

The Swedish Government announced in the end of July that night train services from Malmö-Brussels and Stockholm-Hamburg will financially be supported with 40 million € in order to start operations in August 2022 with a duration of at least four years. (4) In the Swedish Transport Administration’s investigation concerning the procurement process, which results have been reported previously, it turned out that subsidized services only can be enforced through Sweden and Denmark to the German border. Through Germany and Belgium, the services will formally be considered as commercial. The Swedish Transport Administration regards an arrangement like this would be the most pragmatic solution due to challenges dealing with current German legislation.

Emil Frodlund

Interior design of ÖBB’s upcoming sleeper cabins