Okay, that is a long title. I feel like Im’m introducing and American sporting evenement with many sponsors and brand names. Anyway. European Sleeper, a new railway operator from the Netherlands, is planning a night train service between Ostend and Prague. This train will be operated by RegioJet, from Czechia.
It seems Elmer van Buuren of Train2EU and Chris Engelsman of Noord West Express started this idea of a night train by creating European Sleeper. They decided to team up with RegioJet, which has sleeper train experience thanks with its Prague – Bratislava – Budapest – Rijeka/Split and Prague – Košice connections.
Train lovers and researchers throughout Europe have publicized documents with more information regarding the European Sleeper.
RegioJet asks for this timetable, to start on 11 December 2022, “or earlier”. According to Železniční magazín.
The train would depart Praha hlavní nádraží or Prague Main Railway Station at 19.10 (7.10 PM) and arrive at Oostende (Ostend) at 9.56 (9.56 AM) with stops at Praha-Holešovice, Ústí nad Labem, Děčín, Bad Schandau, Dresden Hauptbahnhof (Dresden Main Railway Station), Dresden Neustadt (Dresden New Town), Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Main Railway Station), Hanover, Amsterdam Centraal Station (Amsterdam Central Railway Station), Schiphol, Den Haag Hollands Spoor (The Hague HS), Rotterdam Centraal (Rotterdam Central Railway Station), Roosendaal, Antwerpen-Centraal (Antwerp-Central Railway Station), Brussel-Centraal (Brussels-Central Railway Station), Brussel-Zuid (Brussels-Midi Railway Station), Gent-Sint-Pieters (Ghent-Saint-Peter’s Railway Station), Brugge (Bruges) and finally Ostend.
The return trip would leave Ostend at 18.04 (6.04 PM) and arrive at Prague 9.56 (9.56 AM).
Not for domestic travel
The notification to the Dienst Regulering van het spoorwegvervoer en van de Exploitatie van de Luchthaven Brussel-Nationaal / Service de Régulation du Transport ferroviaire et de l’Exploitation de l’Aéroport de Bruxelles-National or Regulatory Service for Rail Transport and the Operation of Brussels-National Airport has also been made public.
That document also gives 11 December 2022 “or sooner” als start date. It also has this interesting little sentence. “De trein is niet voor binnenlands vervoer in België en Nederland toegankelijk“. In English: “The train is not accessible for domestic travel in Belgium and the Netherlands”.
So unlike the Benelux train, you’re not allowed to take it to travel from Oostend to Ghent or Brussels, for example.
Three times a week to daily service
We also learn European Sleeper and RegioJet aim at three services per week, and hopefully later on every day.
And then, as pièce de résistence, the train composition.
- 3 sleeping cars, type to be determined, RegioJet class ‘Berth compartment’.
- 4 couchette cars, Bcmz 248.5, RegioJet class ‘Couchette car’.
- 2 seating cars, type Ampz, RegioJet class ‘Business / Relax’.
- 1 seating car, type Bmz, RegioJet class ‘Standard’.
- 1 seating car, type Bmpz, RegioJet class ‘Standard Astra’.
The capacity would be 548 passengers. In the future perhaps 900.
You can count eleven coaches. That’s a long train. The A indicates first class, the B second class.
VagonWEB is porn for train lovers. It has so much information on trains. It’s your go-to website for train compositions. There we learn RegioJet bought its rolling stock from ÖBB (Austria), SBB-CFF-FFS (Switzerland), Deutsche Bahn (DB, Germany), NMBS / SNCB (Belgium) and new Astra cars from Romania.
From the VagonWEB and RailJet’s own information, we don’t see any showers. Is that necessary? Both Danny and I really like a shower in the morning. When possible, we will pay for a compartment with shower.
In 2016 we travelled across the United States with Amtrak. On the California Zephyr we had our own shower. On the Coastal Starlight not. We were, as far as we were aware, the only one passengers using the showers on the lower deck.
Perhaps people don’t bother with the hassle.
So no shower in the train? Okay, but can we have an early hotel check-in and shower there? RegioJet and European Sleeper obviously not only aim at tourists. But civil servants from the European Union, other diplomats and workers and people transiting to London can shower at home or somewhere else.
Maybe European Sleeper can strike deals with hotels to use the showers at the gym? And why not sell train travellers a hotel brunch?
Some questions are answered, many are not. There’s one year to go. Let’s hope both the European Sleeper and the Moonlight Express become reality.
- ‘Economic viability night trains doubtful without solution for high track access charges’ (Railtech).
- ‘Notification of the Proposal of the New Rail Passenger Service’ (ÚPDI).
- ‘RJ plánuje noční vlak do Amsterdamu a Bruselu’ (Železniční magazín).
- ‘Kennisgevingsformulier van een geplande nieuwe passagiersvervoerdienst per spoor’ (Regul.be).
- Osobní vozy RegioJet (VagonWEB).
- RegioJet rolling stock.
- European Sleeper night train: Ostend – Prague instead of Brussels – Prague?.
- European Sleeper announces Berlin and Prague as destinations.
- Moonlight Express to offer night train services between Brussels, Liège and Berlin from April 2022.
- Moonlight Express to include bar / restaurant coaches and sustainable quality food on Brussels – Liège – Berlin night train.
- The couchette and sleeping cars for the Brussels – Liège – Berlin Moonlight Express.
- 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.
- Travelling across the USA with Amtrak.