The Anonymous Widower

‘Sleeper Trains’ London To Berlin And Prague A New Possibility

The title of this post, is the same as the title of this article on Rail Technology Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

For those who have grown a travel bug during lockdown, the truth is that flying looks like it won’t be a viable option as a global pandemic persists. However, for those who dream to travel again, there might be some hope. With growing new interest, there are ambitious plans to take overnight ‘Sleeper trains’ services through the channel tunnel from London to cities around Europe .

I regularly use sleeper trains to Scotland, as they deliver me North of the Border for an early start or are ideal for coming back ;ate after a busy day.

As I can sleep with no trouble on a train and generally book a few days in advance, it generally works out that the cost of the sleeper one way is good value, as it avoids paying for a hotel.

Certainly, in the UK, if you use sleeper trains properly and have a rail-card, I find them convenient and good value. A couple of times, there’s also been a party in the lounge car.

It appears that the first sleeper trains will start from Brussels.

  • NightJet already run a service between Brussels and Vienna.
  • A route of Brussels and Prague via Amsterdam, Berlin and Dresden is suggested.
  • These routes could be extended to London, at some time in the future.

But if they were timed appropriately, you could take an afternoon or evening Eurostar to Brussels and have supper before you get the sleeper, either on Eurostar or in Brussels.

With sleeper trains popping up in several places in Europe and becoming more fashionable with better rolling stock, I’m sure that this sleeper train would work.

Brussels and Berlin is currently seven hours with a change, so a sleeper train without a change could probably take you to Berlin for eight in the morning, if it left Brussels at about yen at night.

April 19, 2021 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. Some people and especially the anti HS2 brigade think that covid19 has reduced any future for railways.

    When if anything it has improved tg3 prospects for rail given that rail has the major advantage of providing far more space for passengers than either road or more especially aircraft !

    When plans for tge Channel Tunnel and HS1 were proposed the prospect for providing through services to Scotland and tge north of England was used to get Parliament to agree legislation but these promises were never delivered.

    While most suggestions were for a HS1 to HS2 link I reckon a link from HS1 to ECML might be a better starter allowing through services from Scotland and tge north via ECML and HS1 long before HS2 is built. With possibility of Stratford International being finally brought into service.

    While initially services from St Pancras International which has border checkpoints could initiate services.

    Comment by Melvyn | April 19, 2021 | Reply

    • When you consider that London and Edinburgh via the East Coast Main Line would be similar. HS2 are saying three hours and forty-eight minutes between London and Edinburgh and an InterCity 225 did London and Edinburgh achieved three hours and 29 minutes in 1991.

      What time could one of the new High Speed Two Classic Compatible trains achieve with full digital in-cab signalling. Three hours and thirty minutes would be feasible.

      Where is Palace Gates and Seven Sisters, when you need it. I seem to remember proposing that when Crossrail 2 is built to New Southgate that the route could also be used to take freight trains between Stratford or Barking and New Southgate. Perhaps with a bi-directional third tunnel.

      Trains from the North to Europe would start at Liverpool and call at Warrington, Manchester, Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds.

      Comment by AnonW | April 20, 2021 | Reply

  2. This story raises fond memories – albeit rather irrelevant ones for the modern sleeper train era – of the Night Ferry. It wasn’t the most comfortable night’s sleep, but it was certainly the most interesting and, at times, mysterious way to reach Paris or Brussels. I always felt a great opportunity was lost when the Nightstar (sleeper version of Eurostar) was cancelled – and a shocking waste of money, too.

    Comment by Stephen Spark | April 19, 2021 | Reply

    • I just think the timings are so right, if you need to visit say Berlin or Prague for a day from the UK.

      I would also not write off train ferries yet, as I suspect that they might have applications on some routes. Perhaps even for freight.

      Comment by AnonW | April 20, 2021 | Reply

  3. The one time I wanted to use the Scottish sleeper I also wanted to combine the travel and the hotelling (and take a chunk of equipment not feasible for plane or coach). Across a weekend event

    Sadly I then found out that the timing was such that one of the two legs that I wanted to use as travel+hotel was the day of the week the sleeper doesn’t run.

    Many years ago I did use the overnight ski train with couchettes (not via channel tunnel though..train to Dover, foot ferry, board in Calais).

    Comment by MilesT | April 20, 2021 | Reply

    • I have a feeling that Scottish sleeper trains have said that they intend to go to seven days a week. I

      f you live in London or the South East, it would make it easy to attend a family or business event in Scotland.

      Comment by AnonW | April 20, 2021 | Reply

  4. I always wanted to travel on Nightstar from Manchester to Paris, but if I want to travel on these trains now, I would have to go to Canada where they were sold of dirt cheap and UNUSED, because HM Customs and Border force refused to do checks on the train. Doubtless same show stopper again.

    Comment by R. Mark Clayton | April 20, 2021 | Reply

    • We need modern trade unions in this country. I remember when I worked for ICI in the 1970s, they had got rid of all of the petty rules between unions long before, So if you needed to change a light bulb and you were able to do it, you didn’t have to wait for the electrician. Since then, I’ve worked on or visited other similar sites, where the rules are as in the days of Red Robbo.

      I very much feel that the way sleeper trains are being introduced and expanded, that there could be something like a Liverpool and Paris sleeper via Manchester Airport, Manchester, Leeds, Doncaster, Peterborough, Cambridge and Stratford.

      All the infrastructure needed would be electrification of Manchester and Leeds and Peterborough and Ely, with perhaps a couple of crossovers. The trains could even serve St. Pancras with a reverse.

      I’m sure that a Hitachi Class 80x would make a nice sleeper train with some good design.

      Comment by AnonW | April 20, 2021 | Reply


Leave a Reply to AnonW Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.