European Sleeper Brussels-Amsterdam-Berlin unsuitable for business travellersBack to Forum
Some of you will have read the numerous articles I have written for the magazine regarding night train renaissance in mainland Europe.
One newcomer, European Sleeper, has just launched a night train running Brussels-Amsterdam-Berlin.
European Sleeper is ‘open access’ in other words it must accept financial risk.
Despite the hype from mainstream media the reality is that this new train is really intended for backpackers and leisure travellers.
It cannot appeal to business travellers for two main reasons:
* The majority of carriages comprise seated accommodation or six-berth couchettes.
* There are just one or two sleeping cars but they are 70 (seventy) years old. Although they have been refurbished they lack modern amenities, do not have air-conditioning and may offer a poorer ride compared to OEBB’s Nightjets.
But in any case accommodation for the sleeping cars is fully booked for weeks, if not months, ahead. Presumably these customers are rail fans or families who wish to travel together.
Development of new night trains (by private firms) is being held up by a critical shortage of rolling stock. New stock can take years to be manufactured, certified and be placed into service. OEBB ordered Nightjets from Siemens in 2018 and they are still not in service.
Rail vlogger @doc7austin rode the inaugural Berlin-Brussels-Berlin trains.
Today he posted a photo of one of the sleeper carriage from the 1950s.27 May 2023
Thanks for the post Alex – found the below re OBB Nightjet interesting
It would seem from the attached that the OBB Nightjet from Amsterdam to Vienna is a decent experience and very affordable using 1st class Eurail pass.
The piece is not clear though what rolling stock is being used but the user here looks to have found the experience enjoyable and comfortable if a little basic. The older rolling stock perhaps ?
Some useful information here for us who are contemplating such an adventure next year – it must be forty years since I have been on a night train.28 May 2023
From what I see here and there, there is hope, but only hope … provided you accept to share your bathroom! https://www.unsereoebb.at/de/artikel/2019/die-nightjets-der-neuen-generation is an example.28 May 2023
[quote quote=1364497]The piece is not clear though what rolling stock is being used but the user here looks to have found the experience enjoyable and comfortable if a little basic. The older rolling stock perhaps ?[/quote]
Yes. Older Nightjet stock. The ‘new generation’ rolling stock will initially operate routes from Vienna to Italy.
But it has still not entered service. Was ordered from Siemens in 2018, some carriages have been built and delivered to OEBB but the certification not yet complete. Supposed to enter service this year.
Doc7austin has produced a lengthy and detailed YouTube from the inaugural Berlin-Brussels service.
Fast forward to 15 mins 11 secs and you see the grubby exterior of the couchette cars.
Than at 15 mins 21 secs you see the exterior of the 1955 Italian-built sleeper car.
Train comprises 11 carriages. Two of these are sleeping cars. Hence the latter fully booked for weeks ahead.28 May 2023
[quote quote=1364536]From what I see here and there, there is hope, but only hope … provided you accept to share your bathroom![/quote]
Swissdiver – With the current Nightjet stock you can book solo accommodation and some cabins do have en suite shower and/or toilet but these cost more.
As for the new generation there are both couchettes and sleeping accommodation.
The new Minisuites are intended to make sleeper train travel appeal to the younger generation and cost-conscious travellers. They do provide privacy of a sort (toilets etc will be along the corridor).
One could say they are rail’s equivalent of airline premium economy class.
This short YouTube by Mark Smith covers the accommodation types.
This new stock must have cost an absolute fortune. One wonders whether the new entrants would be able to afford the cost.28 May 2023
Rather worrying that European Sleeper has shrunk after only operating for a couple of days.
Unclear whether this is down to lack of demand or technical issues with the elderly rolling stock.
To have just one sleeper car (it’s the silver one and roughly 70 years old) is a particular worry as the two sleeper cars (normally provided) are reputed to be fully booked weeks ahead.30 May 2023
Readers needing to take the Berlin sleeper from the UK will have another option later this year.
Of course, for the many reasons Business Traveller has already discussed, there are no direct sleeper trains from the UK so one must change in Brussels.
But European Sleeper’s product is not aimed at the business market.
Today Mark Smith reports that OEBB is preparing to launch Nightjet between Paris Est and Berlin.
Nightjet will deploy quality rolling stock.
Travellers from the UK will need to change in Paris.
But for those taking Eurostar from London you will find Paris Est is adjacent to Paris Nord.
FYI “Berlin Hbf (tief)” is the below surface level.
— The Man in Seat 61 (@seatsixtyone) August 25, 2023
1 user thanked author for this post.25 Aug 2023