‘Hotel on rails’ Midnight Trains to link Paris to Edinburgh, Brussels, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Berlin, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Porto

There’s a new night train company in town: Midnight Trains. The French company wants to operate luxurious but affordable night trains from 2024. As usual, there are many questions.

Midnight Trains is an initiative of Andrien Aumont and Romain Payet. There’s already a neat website with pretty pictures. 

Midnight Trains joins an array of night train projects such as the Ostende-Vienne Orient Experience (O.V.O.E.), the Moonlight Express and the European Sleeper.

2024

“In 2024, we will launch our first line from our hub in Paris, which will set the foundation of our deployment plan, with one ambition: propose a network of more than 10 destinations with distances from 800 to 1,500 km”, the website says.

“We can not wait to welcome you onboard and shape together the future of travel in a greater, greener and more comfortable way.”

“Your own room, for complete privacy. The rooms, all private, can be booked in solo, duo, with family or friends. High-quality bedding sets and on-demand movies: discover a new way to travel, in full privacy and security.”

You will be able to dine as well. “A good table, for more conviviality. Carefully sourced seasonal products, homemade cocktails, craft beers and living wines, all served at your table, at the bar or in your room. Sit back and enjoy.”

Destinations

Midnight Trains announced an array of destinations. Edinburgh, Brussels, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Berlin, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Porto

These are popular destinations for night trains. Modern luxury on board is also not unheard of. Japan has some of those. But these are massively expensive. But individual cabins don’t need to be.

Issues

Mark Smith, The Man in Seat 61, pinpoints some issues. “I’m told they’re looking at rebuilding second-hand stock, but also talking to suppliers of new rolling stock.  Can they make it work?” 

“The Edinburgh-Paris route on their map will generate lots of excitement this side of the Channel, but tunnel and HS1 costs, security, evacuation and border issues almost certainly put this particular route firmly in the ‘too difficult’ pile, unless something pretty major changes.

“It’d require special new-build rolling stock, restricted to the British loading gauge, compliant with tunnel evacuation regulations, just for one route.  It does suggest that they are drawing lines on maps at this stage rather than showing seriously examined/costed proposals.”

“But they have advisors with experience from SNCF, Thalys, Accor on board, so we shall see.  Their plans fit with the French government’s aspiration to revive sleeper trains to Madrid, Rome etc. and I knów there’s plenty of demand on those routes.  I wish them every success!”

We’ll have to wait and see, as always. 

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