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MISC | International Night Trains

41595 Views 101 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  mistertl
A thread to discuss long-distance overnight train services, especially those running internationally.
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Where have you been the last month? These cuts already took place last November and December.
The matter was discussed in a parliament committee recently. Interestingly DB admitted that the night trains in themselves cover their costs. However profits are not sufficient to cover the separate night train bureaucracy and does not warrant investments into the necessary new coaches. Plus open access fees for operating the night trains in countries outside Germany are sometimes horrendous. In the hearing, some interesting suggestions were made as to how night trains could be operated in a more promising way, taking in 21st century amenities and allowing for more cost efficiency. However most agreed that political incentives would have to support efforts at upkeeping night services.
Yes, cancelled last December despite it being almost always full. DB blames the French for high open access fees, the French side rejected that claim, blaming DB (see posts above). Now help comes from an unexpected angle: as of summer, RZD, the Russian train operator will retime its Paris-Moscow train so it can also serve as an overnight connection between Paris and Berlin. However this train only operates twice a week.
Due to the sanctions, international ridership has decreased dramatically. Russians do not feel safe to travel abroad, and especially the number of trains crossing Ukraine, even when traveling through a peaceful part of that country, have been a prime target for RZD's attempts at cutting down its deficit.
There is a second cross-border train between Romania and Bulgaria though. The Serdica (Sofia-Budapest) crosses between Vidin and Calafat. However this is admittedly not a good choice if you are heading to Bucharest or the East or Center of Romania.
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Classic is 6 or 4, but most companies just fold up 2 places to convert it to a 4-people-couchette. So far, to my knowledge only the ex-Soviet and new RZD couchette cars actually are designed just for 4 and feel much more spacious. ÖBB's mockup is for 4, looks good except what the German forum colleagues mention, no real space for serious luggage.
ÖBB to go Ahead with International Night Train Expansion

ÖBB announced that it will go ahead with an international expansion of its night train sector. As had been reported, ÖBB wants to move into the night train sector in Germany which DB is set to abandon at the end of this year. Switzerland and Italy are the other two countries where ÖBB aims to fill the gap left behind by the disappearance of several night time connections. Initially ÖBB aims to use leased rolling stock before ordering new sleepers and couchettes. Nothing is known about their targeted routes except that they will probably start with Hamburg (or elsewhere in northern Germany)-Zürich. A train to Brussels is being debated. 8 trains for the connections to Italy alone are apparently planned. Acclaimedly an investment of 500 million Euros will be necessary, but night trains are apparently experiencing a 4 % growth rate, which ÖBB believes will increase with more restrictions on night flights and airport expansion. (source in German)
Hi K, the word is out that DB is decisively increasing its number of ICEs to Brussels as of this December, but no intended departure times are out yet, as there are some timetable conflicts around Brussels still to be negotiated:,7806769,7808151#msg-7808151
The last ICE is at 18:25. So that means that you'll be spending three hours in Köln waiting for the night train. DB really should consider at least a 20:25 departure...

Every time that you need to spend more than 30 minutes on a layover in a station is a big fail.
Yes, it is happening. ÖBB launched the official tariff for its new night trains today. Trains can be booked as off Sept 15 and will start running as of Dec 11. German rail fans have shown some disappointment that the ÖBB night trains will, after a transitional period, apparently only accept tickets from their own ticketing system, which is a bummer for people who have discount cards or even flat rate tickets for the German railway system. Apparently not even Austrian discount cards are of any advantage, but it is not entirely clear yet.

List of new ÖBB night trains that will be operated primarily for the German market -

Liste der ÖBB Nachtreisezüge in Deutschland
E. 470/471 (Zürich) – Basel Bad – Berlin – Hamburg

E. 490/491 (Wien) – Passau – Hamburg

E. 40490/40421 (Wien) – Passau – Düsseldorf

E. 40420/40491 (Innsbruck) – Kufstein – Hamburg

E. 420/421 (Innsbruck) – Kufstein – Düsseldorf

E. 294/295, EN 40463/40236, EN 40295/40235 München – Salzburg – (Italien)
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Agreed. It is not too bad to come up with this with just a few months' time to prepare. The exact schedule will be another issue. The Innsbruck leg is an innovation though, giving people from the Alpine region much better connections to central and northern Germany. Although it will primarily serve to get the rolling stock from Munich back into Austria for servicing and will not have too many passengers, this is new. Otherwise we will have to wait and see the schedule, which could be complicated as all trains except the Basel one and the one headed for Italy will have to connect around Nuremberg for shunting. I wonder if Munich departure/arrival times can actually be attractive under the circumstances.
There are however also losses. No more night train from Berlin to Cologne and the Ruhr, although with the few hours' traveling time, a night ICE may be more in order here. With the coming of HSR Berlin-Munich by late 2017, I suppose there was no point to reanimate this formerly very popular line either. Especially there are no more night trains beyond Germany (except for Austria and Italy): Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Prague drop off the grid. Amsterdam could be a later extension from Düsseldorf and Copenhagen from Hamburg, but such services would take until the very late morning if not midday and would thus lose both in customer potential and logistic turnover, so I do not believe they will be back. There had been talk of a night train Basel-Prague via Linz. As that does not concern Germany, it does not show here, but I wonder whether that is still in the cards.
ÖBB reveals its new night train scheme

Yay! ÖBB has finally revealed the full details of their extended night train program as of Dec 2016. No surprises anymore about the routes (except Munich-Rijeka is a nice addition, albeit only in season a real night train).
Prices, departure times etc. have now been revealed and all trains are now open for booking.
Unfortunately BahnCard and RailPlus discounts are not granted, only Austrian Vorteilscard and of course Interrail and Eurail passes.
Leaflet with all departure times, price structure, tariffs: NEU/Folder ÖBB Nightjet 2017.pdf
Maybe as of 2019, when the reconstruction of the downtown rail line is supposed to be finally finished (if there are not more delays).
Possibly never, if the municipality and not TCDD gets its way, as they plan on converting Sirkeci into a cultural event center. However once the reconstruction of the rail line is finished, at least there will be suburban trains from Halkali into the center, and there will be a proper station building at Halkali.
Not really. There is BN1 (to Eminönü/Sirkeci) and BN3 (to Yenikapi metro station, also stops at Kazlicesme for Marmaray; BN = banliyö, the original Turkish for suburban train), both of which depart directly in front of the station and at frequent intervals. Unfortunately, these are regular municipal buses that can only be paid for with the municipal bus card, and they stop at many more stops than the trains and get stuck in traffic. As an alternative, use a private minibus passing from directly in front of the station, where you can pay with cash and go to Kücükcekmece. Get off either in the center of the neighborhood to eat, use an ATM, and buy an Istanbulkart for public traffic and then take another minibus to the nearby Metrobüs stop of Kücükcekmece. This is also simply a bus, but it has its dedicated lane on the city highway, so it cannot get stuck in traffic. See a map for where to interchange to metro or tram lines for your final destination.
If however you are heading straight to Asia, take BN1 or BN 3 until the IDO Fast Ferry Terminal in Bakirköy, from where there are not frequent, but very fast boats to Kadiköy and Bostanci.
If you have Turkish small change, about 2.50 TL, you can ask other passengers to press their Istanbulkart for you on the municipal buses.
If you have no cash at all or would just like a break, head up the hill along the street directly opposite the station entrance and there should be an ATM, some supermarket and snack bar places after about 500-750 meters, but I have only seen them on google maps so far.
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Wow, that is news. So my long description about how to get to Halkali can go to the garbage. TCDD in the news video admit that they did not have time to properly prepare an advertisement campaign for this, so I guess the bus service comes as an afterthought too. Only a few weeks ago I asked at the counter in Sirkeci Station and the official there did not even believe that reinistating this train on 1 April would work out. Now they have stepped up the pace, opened up the connection in the absolute dead season for travelers and still got 20 passengers on the first night just through social media. There is a huge number of travelers and commuters between Bulgaria and Turkey and they include cities like Edirne and Plovdiv where flying is not an option, so a good quality affordable train on this route definitely has a chance.
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