European Sleeper announces Berlin and Prague as destinations

On the same day as Moonlight Express announced it would start a night train service between Brussels and Berlin via Liège, European Sleeper announced its destination: Brussels, Antwerp and Amsterdam to Prague in Czechia via Berlin and Dresden in Germany.

While Moonlight Express from Belgium has offerend some firm information on its product…

  • three departures per week;
  • only beds;
  • operated by RDC Deutschland;
  • prices to start at 49 euros;

… European Sleeper from the Netherlands offered more information on its route.

Both companies will start operating from April 2022

The RegioJet operated train would depart at Brussels and call or pass Antwerp, Roosendaal, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Hanover, Berlin, Dresden, Bad Schandau, Děčín, Ústí nad Labem and finally Prague. 

To Treinzeiger.nl ES executive Chris Engelsman says the company will officially ask for a train path. By August 2021 European Sleeper should know the port of calls of its night train. 

A ‘train path’ is the equivalent of a ‘slot’ in aviation. It’s the time, schedule and space a train gets on the railway network. 

Map of the European Sleeper proposed route. Source: EuropeanSleeper.eu.

300 to 400 passengers

European Sleeper is confident it can attract 300 to 400 passengers per ride. Engelsman is adamant there’s enough demand for sleeper trains across Europe

“From Belgium and the Netherlands, Prague, Dresden and Berlin are fantastic tourist destinations. That knive cuts both ways. Amsterdam and Brussels are great destinations from the Czech Republic and Germany.”

Business traveller

European Sleeper also looks at business travelers. Brussels being the epicenter of the European Union, NATO and SHAPE, night train can attract civil servants and diplomats wanting to travel sustainably. Voluntary or…mandatory. 

RegioJet

RegioJet is a logical partner for European Sleeper. The Czech company is a major player in Central Europe.

RegioJet a.s. is a private Czech provider of passenger rail and bus transport. The company Student Agency, owned by Czech businessman Radim Jančura, is the sole owner. A sister company of the same name, with its registered office in Bratislava, is an operator of passenger rail and bus transport in Slovakia.

The company operates bus routes around the Czech Republic, Slovakia and to another 90 cities throughout Europe, and operates rail routes around the Czech Republic, Slovakia and operate routes to other European cities, such as Vienna.

Risks and responsibilities

European Sleeper and RegioJet will share risks and responsibilities. I’m sorry if that sounds like a Jane Austen novel. 

Rolling stock

By teaming up with RegioJet, European Sleeper doesn’t have to lease rolling stock. RegioJet hás rolling stock. It uses Eurofirma coaches bought from the Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB. Some of these have Swiss SBB-CFF-FFS heritage as wall.

The Eurofima coach, or European Standard Coach (French: Voiture Standard Européenne), is a passenger car designed for use on international railway routes in Europe. It was commissioned by the European Company for the Financing of Railroad Rolling Stock (French: Société européenne pour le financement de matériel ferroviaire) (Eurofima).

It is or was used by ÖBB, SBB, Deutsche Bahn (DB), Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) in Italy, SNCF in France and by NMBS / SNCB in Belgium. In Belgium we call them I6!

Overall production was 10 prototypes, followed by 500 coaches ordered in 1973 and delivered in 1977.

Terra incognita

Treinreiziger.nl notes European Sleeper and RegioJet venture into unchartered territory. European Sleeper will be the first open access carrier in the Netherlands. In Belgium the NMBS / SNCB is dominant. 

So European Sleeper has arrange for locomotives and train guards qualified to conduct a train on Belgian rails. It will probably rent those from the Belgian national  rail company. 

Prices

What about prices? No news yet. RegioJet is known to keep tariffs low. But still, you can expect the night train to be more expensive than flying. 

Engelsman isn’t worried. “Flying to Prague isn’t especially cheap. And to a plane ticket you often must add airport transfer”, Engelsman says in the Dutch newspaper Het Parool.

On top of that, with a sleeper train, you don’t need to book a hotel. 

Related posts

Sources: European Sleeper, Treinreiziger.nl, Wikipedia
Map: European Sleeper

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