Night train capacity from Brussels to mainland Europe is set to increase.
Unfortunately this does not involve the UK, as customers can only benefit by taking Eurostar to join the night train at Brussels Midi.
So what is the expansion?
Firstly it’s been revealed that OEBB’s Nightjet, which currently runs three times a week Brussels-Vienna, will be upgraded to a daily service effective December 2023. We first reported on this service in January 2020.
At the same time it’s believed that this night train will be lengthened and there will be two separate sections which will split en route.
One section will continue as now through to Vienna with the other heading to Berlin. The latter development, however, is not set in stone.
Mark Smith of Seat61 tweeted that OEBB will not make an official announcement later this year regarding the Berlin section.
All this is of course predicated on OBB's new generation Nightjets entering service between Vienna/Munich & Italy as scheduled, releasing the necessary Comfortline sleeping-cars & couchette cars for these new & expanded trains. ÖBB won't confirm until later this year🤞 pic.twitter.com/eMAzfhvVPC
— The Man in Seat 61 (@seatsixtyone) January 7, 2023
Acquiring new and modern night train rolling stock is a lengthy process. Current availability is tight.
OEBB ordered a fleet of new Nightjet trains from Siemens in 2018. They are not expected to enter service until later this year.
It’s the main reason why several new night train entrants have not been able to introduce a quality product for the corporate traveller.
However newcomer and ALLRAIL member European Sleeper intends to operate three times a week Brussels-Amsterdam-Berlin from May 25. The company has leased older rolling stock for this service, and it is expected to comprise both couchette and sleeper cars.
Timings are somewhat lengthy and one wonders whether it will attract travellers from air.
European Sleeper will depart Brussels every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1922 and arrive in Berlin the next day at 0648.
For Berlin-Brussels, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday the train departs at 22.56 to arrive home at 0927.
Travellers taking Eurostar from London would depart at 1504 and, on the return leg, depart Brussels at 1256.
More details will become clearer when bookings open on February 20.