A project for regular night train services between Brussels and Berlin should finally be launched at the end of May, the startup European Sleeper has announced.
“On Thursday, May 25, 2023, we will start our Berlin-Amsterdam-Brussels night train,” the company announced on its post-Christmas website.
The project was originally launched by two rail enthusiasts in early 2021, with plans to start running trains this year following a crowdfunding campaign.
However, securing the wagons was the “biggest challenge”, the company said, requiring it to spend months sourcing second-hand rental wagons. The company has yet to show photos of what its trains will look like, but promises to use more comfortable couchettes and sleeping cars.
The new service aims to fill a major gap in Europe’s rapidly growing night train network, with the European Sleeper stopping in Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amersfoort and Hanover on the way between the EU and German capitals.
The initial plan is for the service to operate three times a week, departing at 7:22 p.m. from Brussels on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving in Berlin at 6:48 a.m. the next morning.
On the return journey, the train will leave Berlin’s sprawling Central Station at 10:56 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, arriving in Brussels at 9:27 a.m. It might be a little late for German MEPs and Commission officials arriving on a Monday. morning, especially if you add the famous Berlaymont shower to the schedule.
Tickets will go on sale Feb. 20, the company said. Prices start at €49 for a cramped berth in a six-person couchette car, while fares for a private sleeper cabin start at €159, with all passengers promised breakfast on board.
Currently, the fastest rail route between Berlin and Brussels is a high-speed day train between Berlin and Cologne, connecting to a late service that runs from Frankfurt to Brussels.
On a good day, the total travel time between the two cities is just under seven hours, which is uncompetitive with the various direct flights that travel the route.
From 2024, European Sleeper also plans to extend its night train east through Dresden and the bucolic setting of the Elbe Valley to the Czech capital Prague.