Barcelona – Brussels – Berlin. Moonlight Express, from Belgium, loves destinations beginning with a B. At the start of April Moonlight Express announced a night train service from Brussels to Berlin via Liège. But ultimately it wants to link Barcelona with Berlin.
But now it turns out Moonlight Express has requested train paths not only from Brussels to Berlin, but also from Perpignan to Brussels.
Cruise on rails
“We actually want to connect Berlin and Barcelona, via Brussels,” explains Louis De Jaeger. The Moonlight Express entrepreneur talked to Belga press agency.
“It must be a kind of cruise by train.” In addition, tourists could board in Berlin in the evening, spend a day in Brussels the next day while their luggage remains on the train, and then travel to Barcelona at night.
For the time being, the entrepreneurs are not yet aiming for Barcelona, but for Perpignan, via a number of Alpine ski areas.
Spain‘s classic rail rail lines, for ‘low speed’ trains, has a different gauge. The Iberian gauge (Spanish: ancho ibérico, trocha ibérica; Portuguese: bitola ibérica) is a track gauge of 1,668 mm (5 ft 5+21⁄32 in), most extensively used by the railways of Spain and Portugal. This is the second-widest gauge in regular use anywhere in the world. The Indian gauge, 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm), is 8 mm (5⁄16 in) wider.
A solution would be that the night train would be allowed to run on the high-speed line to Barcelona, but that has not yet been clarified. High speed trains use the standard gauge in Spain.
Both companies are still in talks with the railway company NMBS / SNCB, which would be the operator of the night trains in Belgium. NMBS / SNCB said earlier that it wanted to “take an active role” and look at collaborations as it does with the Austrian company ÖBB for the night train to Vienna.
In August it should be clear which train paths the various companies will receive. This is no guarantee that trains will actually run.
Barcelona – Berlin – Brussels is ambitious. Not only on the technical side of things, but also as an experience. Moonlight Express stresses it wants to provide a nice, qualitative travel experience. Barcelona – Brussels – Berlin will necessitate two nights. How comfortable will the coaches be? Will there be individual showers? WiFi?
It remains to be seen.
- ‘Rijpaden aangevraagd voor nieuwe nachttreinen van en naar Brussel’, Belga, Bruzz, 19.04.2021.
- Iberian gauge.
- Standard gauge.
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