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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
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).
Overall production was 10 prototypes, followed by 500 coaches ordered in 1973 and delivered in 1977.
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.
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.
- Moonlight Express to offer night train services between Brussels, Liège and Berlin from April 2022.
- 2021, European Year of Rail.
- ‘Green Speed’: Train operators Thalys and Eurostar to become one.
- European Sleeper to launch night train services from the Netherlands and Belgium in April 2022.
- Nightjet Vienna/Innsbruck to Brussels, or how we got thrown off the train in Aachen.
- NIGHTJET | Austrian Federal Railways ÖBB and Swiss Federal Railways SBB-CFF-FFS present 2024 Austro-Swiss night train plans for Europe.
- Why the expensive ÖBB Nightjet is really not that expensive.
- Reliving the era of the great railway journeys, travelling overnight on Nightjet.
- How we plan a big rail trip.
- Ticket Distribution: the failure of railways to sell themselves.
- Malmö – Cologne – Brussels Night train.
- BOOK REVIEW | ‘Night Trains, The Rise and Fall of the Sleeper’ by Andrew Martin.
- To use night trains in Portugal and Spain or not?.
- Night trains in Europe.
- Low-cost, long-haul trains to conquer Europe?.
- Fly now before it’s taxed and consider using the train instead.
- A passengers train from Antwerp in Belgium to Shanghai in China?.
- Venice Simplon-Orient-Express comes to Brussels in June 2021 and April 2022.
Sources: European Sleeper, Treinreiziger.nl, Wikipedia
Map: European Sleeper