The Belgian Government have announced that they will subsidize the track access charges for all night trains serving Belgium. This is designed to encourage train operators to run more night trains from Brussels to other parts of Europe. From here in the UK, we have long supported the development of Brussels as a night train hub, where convenient connections can be made with daytime Eurostar services. See this link which should translate into English for further information: https://www.lok-report.de/news/europa/item/37144-belgien-europapremiere-foederalregierung-beschliesst-ein-system-zur-unterstuetzung-von-nachtzugbetreibern.htm We now call on the UK Government to find a way of reducing the track access charges for both HS1 and the Channel Tunnel, so we can enjoy cheaper, more frequent train services to & from Europe.
On the 16th September our colleagues from Back on Track in Belgium, Germany, Denmark & Sweden organised a series of events to promote the need for a Night Train from Brussels to Malmo in the south of Sweden. Such a service would be very useful for people in the UK, as we could then connect directly into this service via an afternoon Eurostar from London. We have posted a link to a clip from Back-on-Track Belgium, which illustrates the various events which took place on that day. The link also shows a suggested timetable and some information about the various towns and cities served along the route. Although most of the text is in English, there is a bit in
Recently, French Railways re-introduced the night train service from Paris to Nice. From the 1st July they will re-introduce another night train service from Paris to Tarbes, Lourdes, Pau, Bayonne, Biarritz and Hendaye in South West France. Have a look at our recently published leaflet which you can find at https://www.eurorailcampaignuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/NightTrainsLeaflet.pdf . You will find a list of all-year and seasonal services running across West and Central Europe as well as useful daytime connecting links.
On Thursday March 24th I was in Brussels for the first time in two years, attending the conference organised by Back-on-Track Belgium on the theme “Night Trains – Back to the Future?!” A hundred of us filled the room and others listened in by video link, for presentations and discussion on Brussels as a night train hub, private initiatives, the economics of night trains and issues of ticketing and passenger rights. Displayed around the room were the winning and shortlisted posters promoting night trains – the result of a competition organised by Back-on-Track Belgium in 2021 which had attracted nearly 90 entrants. We were welcomed by Georges Gilkinet, Belgian Federal Minister of Mobility, who expressed confidence that his country would
For many years Brussels has been the best place to make easy daytime connections from Eurostar into Germany & beyond. The Belgian Government have recently announced they will be spending up to 2 million Euros, to see how Brussels can be used to accommodate the growing number of night trains planned in the next few years. For further information see: https://www.bruzz.be/mobiliteit/twee-miljoen-voor-uitbouw-van-brussel-als-nachttreinhub-2021-10-14
“TOGETHER FOR EUROPE – NEW LINES FOR NIGHT TRAINS“ At a press conference on the 8th December the Swiss, German, Austrian & French state railways announced their plan to co-operate in the launch of 4 new night train services within the next 3 years. This will give rail users to/from the UK a greater choice of connections from Eurostar day services in Paris & Brussels onto night trains going onto Rome, Vienna, Barcelona for example. “EVERY LITTLE HELPS” or PROGRESS ON 7 CROSS BORDER RAIL LINKS Thanks to an agreement between the Grand-Est region in France and the Rheinland-Pfalz region in Germany 7 regular cross-border rail services will be running from December 2024. Every improvement in such links makes the
BRUSSELS AS A NIGHT TRAIN HUB Last month on the 22nd October our sister organization “Back-on Track Belgium” gave a presentation in a Webinar as part of the EU regions & Cities week. They explained how up to 6 Night train services could provide useful links connecting many parts of East, West, North and Southern Europe. This would also provide better rail travel opportunities for UK residents with one simple change to & from Eurostar at Brussels. NEW HOPE FOR SIMPLER TICKETING ? The International Union of Railways (UIC) has announced it will introduce a new Open Sales and Distribution Model (OSDM) platform supplied by Hit Rail to replace their existing Price and Fare Information Storage (PRIFIS) international tariffs distribution
MORE NIGHT TRAINS PLANNED Both Austrian and Hungarian State Railways have recently ordered new rolling stock for Night trains. The Swedish Government is inviting train operators to run new services from Hamburg to Stockholm and Brussels to Malmo from 2022. Also , from 2022 two new services are planned from Paris to Nice and Paris to Tarbes. This will open up further travel opportunities for UK residents connecting with daytime Eurostar services via Paris & Brussels. Back-on-Track(Belgium) are actively campaigning for Brussels to become the new European Hub for up to 5 different night train services. HOW SAFE IS RAIL UNDER COVID 19 ? Recent research both by German Railways and the UK Rail Safety & Standards board suggest that
NIGHT TRAIN REVIVAL IN FRANCE In recent years before the Covid crisis there remained only 3 regular night train services for the whole of France. On 2nd August president Macron announced plans to expand the number of night train services across France from 2022. GOOD AND BAD NEWS FROM EUROSTAR THE GOOD : Eurostar are now running regular services from London to Paris, Brussels, Lille & Amsterdam. They have also made it more flexible if you want to exchange your ticket for a different service. THE BAD : Eurostar are not serving Ebbsfleet, Ashford, Calais Frethun or Marseilles until further notice. Nor do they plan to run their services to the French Ski resorts in 2021.
” TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS 2.0 ? “ On the 21st September the 27 Transport Ministers from EU member states will be holding a virtual conference to progress climate-friendly rail transport. This will cover International high-speed and overnight rail services. They will discuss the setting up of a one-stop booking platform for International passenger transport. “NIGHT TRAINS TO EUROPE VIA THE CHANNEL TUNNEL ? “ Since the Tunnel opened in 1994 passenger services have been restricted to the daytime Eurostar services. The UK Department of Transport has now said it stands ready to engage with any potential operator of new international(including Sleeper) services if a proposition is made. Can we now hope for Night Trains from London to Berlin or Milan