Prague, Czech Republic – Going to sleep in Belgium and waking up in the Czech Republic, or vice versa? This may soon become possible: earlier this week, the Dutch startup European Sleeper announced plans to launch a night train service connecting Prague and Brussels in the spring of 2022.
New night train to connect Prague and Brussels in 2022
A Netherlands-based company launched by two train enthusiasts and private Czech carrier Regiojet to promote night trains across Europe, European Sleeper is trying to raise €400,000 to cover the costs of the new line which is also set to travel through the cities of Dresden, Berlin and Amsterdam.
If the enterprise is successful, the first night trains between Prague and Brussels could start operating in April 2022. Encouraging European nomads to “travel sustainably by sleeper train and enjoy how relaxing and efficient this way of travelling is,” European Carrier said the line will initially be operated three times a week, but hopes to expand it to a daily service over time.
Tickets and fare prices have not been determined yet. On its website, the Dutch start-up announced that the sleeper trains will offer free coffee and free internet, and that passengers will be able to choose between normal seats and sleeping carriages.
The joint-venture between the Dutch startup and Czech private carrier looks to capitalise on the growing popularity of night trains, increasingly seen as a much more climate-friendly alternative to travel in Europe, and even beyond.
Sleeper trains gaining ground in Europe
With COVID grounding flights for a good part of the past year, travelers increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their modes of transportation and EU governments looking at the transport sector as one of the main industries to cut carbon emissions, night trains could be making a comeback after years of neglect, some experts believe, pointing to a “European trend” that could accelerate in the post-COVID era.
To get the four-country international line on track, European Sleeper will have to overcome a number of hurdles, including raising enough funds, finding carriages and navigating through EU bureaucracy, notes Politico. The participation of Regiojet, a staple of low-cost bus and train travel across Europe, nevertheless offers the project greater visibility.
Regiojet spokesman Aleš Ondrůj also said the company was considering resuming its line connecting Prague to the eastern Slovak city of Košice, and was planning on launching trains connecting the Czech capital city with Przemyśl (eastern Poland) and Lviv (western Ukraine) in 2021.