It would be a pity if night trains in Europe disappeared. It would reduce choice for travellers. That is why the week of action starting today organised by Train Tracks Europe – https://back-on-track.eu/action-week-april-2018/ – is important. The campaign seeks to preserve the remaining night trains and bring back many of those which have been withdrawn in recent years.
Night trains may not be everybody’s cup of tea – and in fact on one or two nobody got a cup of tea! – but I’ll miss them if they go. And perhaps more to the point, they will reduce my options for getting across Europe and not just for going on holiday for attending business meetings.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used them on holiday. But that’s just because I’m a lazy holiday-maker. If you can’t get a tiny bit of luxury, a comfortable bed in a nice hotel on holiday, when can you get it? Out with campsites, back-to-nature, do-it-yourself hostels and anything with Airbnb in the title!
But I digress. Night trains have worked for me when going to meetings and conferences in Europe. Take Barcelona. I was invited to speak at a mid-morning press conference by a group of residents living under the flight path to Barcelona airport. Left London on Eurostar late afternoon, change in Paris; in Barcelona for breakfast. Admittedly my hosts struggled to welcome me: they were so unused to somebody arriving by train from London that they went to the wrong station!
Press conference, a long lingering Spanish lunch by the beach, a stroll down Las Ramblas, onto the night train, checked my emails in Paris back at my desk in London mid-morning.
But my overnight trip to Vienna beats that. I made £5,000 whilst on the train.
by John Stewart