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Brussels to Berlin night train set for May departure

Brussels to Berlin night train set for May departure

Politicos heading to the EU capital from Berlin on a Sunday will have a new travel option from the spring.
A plan to run scheduled night train services between Brussels and Berlin is finally set to launch in late May, the startup European Sleeper has announced.

"On Thursday 25 May, 2023, we will start our night train Berlin — Amsterdam — Brussels," the company said on its website after Christmas.

The project was initially launched by two rail enthusiasts in early 2021, with plans to start running trains this year following a crowd-funding campaign.

However, securing carriages was the "greatest challenge," the company has said, forcing it to spend months sourcing second-hand hired wagons. The company has yet to show pictures of what its trains will look like, but promises to run couchettes and more comfortable sleeper cars.

The new service aims to plug a major gap in Europe's fast-growing night train network, with the European Sleeper stopping at Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amersfoort and Hanover on the way between the EU and German capitals.

The initial plan is for the service to run three times a week, with a 7:22 p.m. departure from Brussels on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving into Berlin for 6:48 a.m. the following morning.

On the return leg, the train will leave Berlin's sprawling central station at 22:56 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, rolling into Brussels for 9:27 a.m. This could be a tad late for German MEPs and Commission officials coming in for a Monday morning, especially if you add the infamous Berlaymont shower to the schedule.

Tickets go on sale on February 20, the company said. Prices start at €49 for a cramped berth in a six-person couchette car, while rates for a private sleeper cabin run from €159, with all passengers promised an onboard breakfast.

At present, the quickest rail route between Berlin and Brussels is a high-speed day train between Berlin and Cologne connecting on to a delay-plagued service running from Frankfurt to Brussels.

On a good day, the total travel time between the two cities is just short of seven hours, uncompetitive against the various direct flights which ply the route.

From 2024, European Sleeper also plans to extend its night train eastward through Dresden and the bucolic setting of the Elbe valley all the way to the Czech capital Prague.

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