The night train from Stockholm to Berlin has arrived.
A lady on the platform started to wave and get excited as the Snälltåget red train engine pulled onto Gleis 3, on-time at 08:52 this morning. She was there to greet her friends.
Simultaneously a FlixTrain appeared on the opposite platform.
Today was a different visit to Berlin’s hbf. A building with fantastic architecture, but often considered confusing number and orientation of platforms. Today, I didn’t get lost. Today was different as a much anticipated service had it’s inaugural service between Sweden and Germany. Excitement was in the air.
Gathered in the middle of the train on the platform, was an assortment of journalists, campaigners, and others passionate about the increase in the number of train services in the EU. And me.
This was the first night train from Stockholm to Berlin. And it had arrived. On time.
Berlin’s central station is not far from the Government district, and I dare say you could make a 9am meeting there with this train service with international governing bodies. Or you could spend the day seeing the many sights of Berlin, before heading onwards to Prague or Amsterdam?
I’m not a morning person, so had hoped to chat gently with a few people, but I was not as organised as many others. Chatted with Jon, Pro Bahn, and the guy from Back On Track EU who’d been on the train, as well as Thomas from Snälltåget, whilst many journalists interviewed various people.
I was encouraged by the excitement from the press. This surely meant that the Stockholm to Berlin night train service has a future?
For me, this has to be just the start. And with covid issues, it’s the persistence of the Transdev & Snälltåget team that has brought this together. It’s now running. Lots of announcements recently about potential new services, but this one is here!
There’s still covid times challenges – you cannot book an individual bed, but have to book the whole couchette. These are not insurmountable. And actually the price for a family of four works out well when competing with Lufthansa.
For now, it is too soon to predict when individual beds can be sold. There’s not really the appetite for sharing with strangers right now. We (196) had a brief experiment to see if there was people who would share, with the tallget community, but sadly there was not.
It’s an exciting point in the #EUYearOfRail – in many ways, with coivd starting to calm down, it feels like it is only just starting. Perhaps there’s scope for increasing the EUYearOfRail into 2022?Tweet
In the meantime, it’s great that companies are starting to roll-out services, and maybe this service will act as a catalyst to announcements for last September’s announced TEE 2.0 network?
A combination of fast trains, and night train services, feels like the future of 2 week tourist travel to those at 196Destinations. It feels like it has to be. But at the same time the industry needs to compete with RyanAir and EasyJet to do it.
And this isn’t just a question of price. It’s about providing destinations people want, and at the right departure and arrival timings in the day, as well style of accommodation and other facilities on board. Perhaps the industry will need to build new rolling stock to cater for new demand, and to encourage the modal shift from air to train to help with the climate emergency.
Time will tell. Lots of work to do. In the meantime, lets enjoy what travel we can do (safely), when it’s possible.
M – “I hear this is quite expensive though?” Well, due to the covid situation at the moment, you have to book a whole couchette, but in theory you can get on the train for as little as 49 Euros one way.
Mo – “Does it go through the Oresund link via Copenhagen?” Hey, yes it does cross ‘The Bridge‘ 🙂
Snalltaget Night Train.
Book Berlin to Stockholm by train
18:54 – Depart – Berlin Gesundbrunen or Berlin Hbf (check!)
14:20 – Arrive – Stockholm (the day after)
Daily from June 28 until September 5 and Wednesdays and Saturdays 8 until October 2. Further variations on Sundays.
Book Stockholm to Berlin by train
16:20 – Depart – Stockholm
08:52 – Arrive – Berlin (the day after).
Daily from June 27 until September 5 and Wednesdays and Saturdays until September 29. Further variations on Sunday.
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