Nine years after the train service was interrupted, the Paris-Berlin night train connection has been restored. Deutsche Bahn (Germany), SNCF (France), and OBB (Austria) have collaborated to bring back night rail connections to their former glory.
The night train travel alliance is entering a new era with plans to offer three connections per week departing from Paris on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and from Berlin on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The aim is to increase the frequency to daily from October 2024.
Responding to the growing demand for environmentally friendly modes of transport, France and Germany have decided to revive their train services. The French government has invested 100 million euros for the relaunch of the night train service, with 76 million euros allocated for the renovation of 93 old Corail cars and 24 million euros for the necessary station installations.
More night trains needed
But without new trains, it is impossible to open new lines. However, the construction of new trains takes five to eight years. Meanwhile, Europe is moving forward: Austria is putting more than 200 brand-new night cars into service, which it had ordered in 2018.
Although the night train enjoys popularity, it remains an unprofitable product for railway companies. The French state subsidizes the relaunched lines: around 10 million euros per year for the connection to Berlin and three to four million for the one between Paris and Aurillac, canceled 20 years ago and reopened last week. This is the only way for companies to offer affordable prices ranging from 29.90 euros for a seat to 92.90 euros for a place in a sleeping car between Paris and Berlin, provided you reserve your seat sufficiently in advance.