European startup aims to make overnight train travel a luxury experience

Jun 17, 2021

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Will the end of the pandemic see a revival in train travel?

One new company believes so, and it’s betting big that customers will want a luxurious and environmentally-conscious alternative to travelling by plane.

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Midnight Trains is a Paris-based startup that’s looking to reinvent nighttime rail passenger service by creating a “hotel on rails.”

The trains will take their aesthetic cues from boutique hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants. The private sleeper suites will have their own dedicated bathrooms and room service availability. The dining cars will have seasonal menus and cocktail bars, all in an attempt to revisit the glamorous train travel experience of the past, with modernised amenities such as luxury bedding and on-demand entertainment.

(Photo courtesy of Midnight Trains)

The sleeper suites will not be shared compartments. Midnight Trains says the suites can be booked as a solo or a group for family and friends.

The company has an ambitious plan to create a network of high-end luxury trains that emanates from its hub in Paris and will operate between some of the biggest cities in Europe, including Berlin, Rome, Venice, Copenhagen, Madrid and Brussels. On its website, Midnight Trains has 2024 as the launch date for its train service.

The company is banking on a resurgence in rail travel as the threat of coronavirus dissipates with the rollout of vaccines across the continent. It’s also highlighting the inconvenience of commercial air travel, as well as its harmful environmental impact. Midnight Trains says its service will be “more comfortable, seamless and sustainable alternative.”

According to some industry experts, demand is building for luxury train service, particularly for routes between major cities such as Paris, Venice and Barcelona. Aiding matters is that the French government is eager to revive sleeper trains as a more eco-aware travel option, having recently relaunched overnight train service from Paris to Nice. 

The plan to revive the Trans-Europe Express Network, the 2.0 initiative, is also a key factor. Experts view it as a way to kickstart nighttime rail travel across the continent once the pandemic is fully in the rearview, in a manner that is also climate-friendly. That plan would allow travellers to journey across multiple national borders without changing trains.

Featured photo courtesy of Midnight Trains.

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