The Anonymous Widower

Lying Not Flying, As Nightjet Sleeper Train Reaches Brussels

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the first sentence.

Under the slogan ‘lying not flying’, Austrian Federal Railways launched its twice-weekly Wien – Brussels Nightjet overnight train on January 19.

These are some of the details of the service.

Two trains per week in both directions.

  • Brussels to Vienna on Mondays and Thursdays, leaving at 18:04 and arriving at 08:27
  • Vienna to Brussels on Sundays and Wednesdays, leaving at 20:38 and arriving at 10:55
  • The timings are such that you could leave London on the 12:58 Eurostar and have nearly two hours to get the sleeper.
  • Coming back, you would probably arrive in London at 14:05

I shall have to try this service.

January 20, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , ,

13 Comments »

  1. Sounds interesting, look forward to hearing about our experience, especially regarding gf food.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | January 20, 2020 | Reply

    • If you travel Premium Economy on Eurostar, it’s good quality GF food. Better than Virgin/Avanti and on a par with LNER.
      Funny, but I don’t think I’ve been on an Aystrian train, as when I last went to Vienna, I arrived by ferry on the Danube from Bratislava and left for Munich on a German train.

      The Austrians are developing a large network of sleeper trains all over Central Europe. You can even go to Moscow.

      In a couple of years, the current trains will have been replaced by new ones!

      Comment by AnonW | January 20, 2020 | Reply

  2. There are two problems with this new train:

    – the Austrian loco has to be changed at the German border because it is not accepted to run in Belgium; and
    – the trains from Vienna to Brussels are leaving nearly 3 hours too late for business meetings starting at 9 a.m.

    Therefore there is no guarantee that this Nightjet will become a successful product.

    For a day train it would be possible to make this route in 9 hours and 30 minutes. But there are no plans to offer it.

    Comment by Wolfgang Maresch | January 20, 2020 | Reply

    • The Eurocrats will complain at the times and they will improve.

      I have had a couple of personal e-mailstooabout this service. Both were positive.

      Note that the British like to travel by train and Austrian Railways will get a lot of UK business. You only have to look at the Success of London-Amsterdam, which will be up to four trains per day this year.

      Ideally, I’d like to catch a real-time train in London, change trains in Brussels and wake up in Vienna! Hoing back, I’d like to leave Vienna just before bed time, change trains in Brussels and be home for lunch!

      It’ll come and it will be successful.

      Comment by AnonW | January 20, 2020 | Reply

      • British guests will always be welcome on Austrian trains.

        But an arrival time after 2 p.m. in London does not make sense for lunch
        because this means that it only would begin at close to 3 p.m. or even later.

        This however is not the usual lunch time in UK.

        Comment by Wolfgang Maresch | January 20, 2020

      • Remember three in Europe is two in the UK! We’ve tried to change it but there is always some self-interest group that doesn’t want it. Last time Northern Ireland said No!

        Comment by AnonW | January 21, 2020

      • I try again because you did not understand me:

        According to Wikipedia usual lunch time in UK is between noon an 1.30 p.m.

        If the mentioned Eurostar arrives at 2.05 p.m. you will be able to leave customs clearance at St. Pancras at 2.30 p.m. at the
        earliest. Lunchtime would then be at close to 3 p.m. or even later.

        In order to have lunch in London at a usual time it would be necessary to take the Eurostar train to London which arrives
        there at 11.57 a.m. The Austrian Nightjet however arrives too late in Brussels to catch that Eurostar which leaves at 10.52 a. m.

        Comment by Wolfgang Maresch | January 21, 2020

      • I think we’re a bit at cross-purposes.

        I do think that the sleeper should arrive in Brussels earlier, as you suggested.

        I’ll be taking it soon.

        Comment by AnonW | January 21, 2020

  3. Sounds a bit like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nightstar_(train)

    Of course the dinosaurs in the Home Office and HMC&E (now HMRC) would NOT agree to customs and immigration on the train, as was the practice in the EU prior to the Single European Act and Schengen agreement, so the project was scrapped and the trains sold off at a huge loss to Canada.

    So while you can get a train from London to Amsterdam etc., you still can’t get one from Paris to / from Manchester or other major UK cities and have to **** about clearing customs and immigration, change stations, rebook etc. in London.

    PS same pain on planes – UK to French provincial city transferring Paris (even CDG ORY), your bags stay airside and you clear customs at your destination. France to the UK (via London) you have to reclaim bags, clear customs, get to another terminal and check in again, BA has lost ££,£££ of business from me because it was so much easier to transit through another European hub than LHR, especially on the return.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | January 20, 2020 | Reply

    • Time to spare, go by air!

      Comment by AnonW | January 20, 2020 | Reply

  4. Austrian railways (ÖBB) has announced yesterday that from December 13 the timetable will be changed for this Nightjet
    with other (“better”) travel times from Vienna to Brussels and vice versa as well as with shorter travel times on this route.

    Comment by Wolfgang Maresch | January 21, 2020 | Reply

    • Good and sensible news!

      Comment by AnonW | January 21, 2020 | Reply

      • Yes.

        From December 13 there will be a combined Nightjet from Vienna to Amsterdam or Brussels.
        It will obviously have to be separated in the german city Cologne (Köln) before going to their final destinations.

        Comment by Wolfgang Maresch | January 21, 2020


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