The sleeping train makes a comeback: From zero to four connections in one year

The Netherlands is seeing the return of night trains. The so-called sleeper trains were not found in Dutch station halls nearly five years ago. There will now be at least two connections before the year’s end. This number should have more than doubled by April next year. What is the reason for this return?

(Planned Sleeper Trains in the Netherlands

  • May 25: Nightjet to Vienna launches NS
  • October 15: GreenCityTrip, Flywise, starts with a line to Prague Vienna Milan Venice and Milan.
  • End of 2021/beginning in 2022: New NS sleeping train to Zurich
  • April 2022: European Sleeper aims to travel via the Netherlands from Brussels to Prague in order for him or her to become a European Sleeper.

After the 2016 end to CityNightline, the sleeper train appeared to have disappeared in the Netherlands. The decrease in number of tourists and the absence of new investments by managers made it impossible for the sleeper train to be profitable.

A night train ride is also very expensive. Each country has an infrastructure fee. Special sleeping cabins have higher material costs. Additional staff are needed to work night shifts and earn more.

A sleeping train can also accommodate fewer passengers. The movement space of the night train is restricted due to one requirement: you must be available to leave in the evening and reach your destination in morning. An NS spokesperson stated that “you only have one night per day.”

Trains must be sustainable and offer experience.

The NS, GreenCityTrip (parted of Flywise travel organization) and European Sleeper, fueled by the sustainability drive to travelers, are willing to fill the gap. Customers told us that they would be able to travel more in the future if allowed (in relation to the corona pandemic and ed.Hessel Winkelman (co-owner of Flywise) says that he would like to travel more in a sustainable manner. European Sleeper and NS both point out that more conscious travel is a key reason for the increase in demand.

Elmer van Buuren co-owner and operator of European Sleeper saw the increasing demand for the sleeping train when capital was raised in 15 minutes through a share issuance. This money will be used to pay for the first sleeper coach connection to Prague. It should begin running in April. Therefore, he doesn’t expect the sleeper trains to disappear soon. Van Buuren states, “It is just a great product.”

Winkelman says that the night train offers another benefit, besides the sustainability aspect. He also mentions the unique experience. Instead of waiting at an airport three hours before you need to, you can board the train after work and close your eyes so that you are ready to go when we pass through the Brenner Pass. It’s quite nice, isn’t it?

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