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These 3 New Exciting Train Routes Are Launching In Europe Next Year

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Though Europe is famous for its well-connected, cross-border railways, trains have never been their first option, as it can be quite expensive, journeys can be long, and when you have between one and two weeks to explore the continent, flying is just more convenient.

Well, that might not be the case anymore.

Female Backpacker Preparing To Board A Train In Europe, Unspecified Location

Now that flying is becoming more expensive, and the cost of adding hold luggage is almost as expensive as buying a second ticket, travelers have begun looking for alternative, cheaper ways to country-hop without sacrificing too much of their precious time.

Lucky for them, European nations are now back to investing heavily in railways after decades of defunding and even shutting down service.

Next year, as many as three new exciting routes will be launching, making it easier for visitors to travel between five hugely popular cities while also saving on accommodation. Here's all you need to know about the recent development:

Paris to Berlin

Scenic view of Notre-Dame de Paris

For the first time in nine years, the French and German capitals will once again be connected by a fast-speed, overnight service that will not require switching trains nor stopovers in intermediate stops.

Paris is the quintessential European city and a bucket list destination for many Americans taking trips across the pond, with its shimmery Eiffel Tower and Haussman-styled boulevards being the stuff of dreams.

Berlin is also incredibly popular among tourists, as the reinstated capital of Germany, and somewhere they go for both delving deeper into history and experiencing the riotous nightlife. Oddly, these iconic destinations had not been linked by overnight trains.

A yellow tram runs through the streets of Berlin, Germany

As part of Europe's overall improvement and expansion of its sleeper network, however, tourists will be able to travel between Paris and Berlin much more easily, with a new service announced by NightJet, the sleeper branch of Austrian ÖBB.

The service is set to start before the end of 2023, departing from Paris' Gare de l'Est (or Eastbound Station) at 7:12 PM and arriving in Berlin at 8:26 AM of the following day.

From Berlin, Paris-bound travelers should expect to depart at 8:18 PM, with the train calling at Gare de l'Est at 10:24 the morning after.

Nightjet Train

ÖBB has reported on X that the train will run three times weekly before increasing to daily service beginning in the fall. Tickets will start at €50, or around US$53 for a lie-flat in a ‘couchette' cabin, the same prices as, or even cheaper than a FlixBus.

This is a significant improvement over the SNCF-Deutschebanh daytime service, with tickets costing as much as US$165 one-way, requiring a switch in Frankfurt, and carriages not being as modern.

Paris to Madrid

Cibeles fountain in Madrid, Spain

Though they are worlds apart in terms of culture, weather, gastronomy, and even the profile of travelers they normally attract, Paris and Madrid will be finally linked by an overnight train service.

Believe it or not, there's currently no direct line operating between these cities, with commuters having to resort to flying – and as a result, paying exorbitant rates for adding luggage – traveling first via Barcelona, or enduring long, painful hours in a bus to complete their journey.

Italy's Trenitalia expects to change those dire prospects, with their famous ‘red arrow' trains, which already serve Paris, Lyon, Turin and Milan, now scheduled to run between the French and Spanish capitals.

Gran Via In Madrid, Capital Of Spain, Iberian Europe

Traveling at up to 400 kilometers an hour (249 mph), the ‘Frecciarossa' is one of the best-reviewed train services in Europe, with 98% of passengers recommending the service according to a recent survey, commending the convenience and comfort of the train.

While the Frecciarossa does not have a dedicated overnight service, with competing Thello leading this market on the Paris-Milan route, Madrid-bound passengers will still be able to reduce their time traveling to just under seven hours, with tickets costing as cheap as US$30.

By the end of 2024, starting your morning eating churros in Madrid and going for an early afternoon stroll down Paris' glitzy Champs Elysees, or vice versa, will no longer be an unfeasible dream if you're a train lover.

tourists eat churros in Madrid

Brussels to Prague

A rail start-up European Sleeper endeavor, the new Brussels-Prague service will cover the 560 miles separating the Belgian capital from the cultural heart of Czechia, with a launch date set for ‘sometime' in 2024.

An extension of the Brussels-Berlin service, it will follow an unconventional route, traveling first through Flemish Belgium, with a stop in Antwerp, before crossing into the Netherlands, with stops in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, before proceeding towards Berlin and Dresden in Germany, and finally terminating in Prague.

Grand Place Bruxelles In Brussels, Belgium During The Evening

As Brussels also boasts a Eurostar connection with London, this means travelers arriving first to the United Kingdom will have the opportunity to travel from the British Isles all the way to Central Europe by rail only.

Prices have not yet been announced, but holders of Interrail tickets have been informed they will be able to book seats on the European Sleeper routes, with reservations for the Brussels-Prague train already open.

It is set to run once per day once European Sleeper increases frequency for Brussels-Berlin.

Woman with cell phone in europe in Prague city

Brussels is Belgium's French-speaking capital, best known for its stately Grand Place, a medieval square flanked by opulent Baroque guildhalls, and for being the home of several European institutions.

Prague, on the other hand, can lay claim to being one of the best-preserved medieval cities still standing, with a beautiful cobbled Old Town, tall Gothic spires, and an imposing fortified castle.

Why Trains Are Better

Trains have proven a far more reliable and safer transportation mode than flights in recent months, following Europe's last two summers of travel disruption.

A Group Of Friends Taking A Selfie In Front Of A Red Train, Unspecified Location

More often than not, trains leave on time, you are not required to arrive at the station two hours in advance – or more – to undergo screening and ID checks, and you are generally allowed to bring all your luggage at no extra cost.

This can feel freeing to commuters, who routinely complain of strict baggage policies when flying inside Europe and how low-cost tickets have become increasingly more expensive.

Additionally, the total time required for commuting between the city center and the airport, passing through security, and then waiting for a flight that could potentially be delayed can be comparable to train journeys of five to six hours.

Tourist Riding Line 6 Of The Paris Metro As It Cross The Bir Hakeim Bridge Spanning The River Seine, With View Of The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, Western Europe

This means flying is not necessarily the most convenient or quickest way to get from point A to B.

Flying from Paris (Beauvais) to Milan (Bergamo), for instance, you will be required to take an airport shuttle that could take as many as two hours to reach the Departures Hall due to traffic, stand in line for excruciatingly long minutes as you await screening, and then proceed to boarding.

Landing in Bergamo, you should expect another long transfer.

Overnight trains in particular come in handy, as they essentially function like a hotel on wheels. You go to sleep in your point of departure, and wake up in a new country without having to spend extra money on accommodation, only your ticket.

Find more exciting train journeys to take in Europe next year here.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Marc

Monday 6th of November 2023

While I like trains and take them instead of flying all across Europe nowadays and thus support pro-train articles, I would like to correct this one. Especially the part about the Paris-Madrid link. While the article is right about the current situation, many mistakes can be found in the part about the 'new train service', linking the French and Spanish capitals.

First of all, there will be no direct Paris-Madrid link soon. Yes, Trenitalia, who operates within Italy as well as direct Paris-Milan trains (Actually not right now since the Lyon-Turin railway line is damaged, but that will change in the foreseeable furure. The name Thello does not exist anymore), has plans to connect Paris to Madrid. This makes sense, because they also operate trains in Spain under the Iryo brand (Trenitalia has a big share in the company ILSA, that operates the Iryo trains). However, the plan is to launch a Paris-Barcelona service, which will connect to a Madrid bound train in Barcelona. No direct service is the plan so far.

Then, Frecciarossa trains are indeed capable of 400k/h. However, they will not reach that speed. On the Paris-Barcelona-Madrid route, the maximum speed is either 300km/h or lower, with a small exeption in Spain, where trains are allowed to go 310km/h, as far as I know.

The potential travel time of 7 hours is also not at all going to be possible on this route. Paris-Barcelona takes 6 hours and 30 minutes. With some less stops, 6 hours might be reachable, but then the Barcelona-Madrid travel time of 2:30h will make 8:30 about the fastest you can get. In the future, this will change, as it will be possible to travel via Bordeaux and the Basque country. Then 6/7 hours of travel time between Paris and Madrid will be possible. It will also become much more likely that a direct service will be introduced, then. And, trains, also the Frecciarossa, will be able to travel at 320km/h between Tours and Bordeaux. Still no 400, unfortunately.

Lastly, the article speaks about the service being an overnight service, while also stating that it will be possible to have Churroz for breakfast and walk the Champs Elysées in the afternoon. So, and this is correct, no overnight service.

I am, overall, very happy when a Paris-Barcelona service by Trenitalia/Iryo would be created. It would be amazing when, in the future, Paris-Madrid will become possible in 6/7 hours. And I would love an overnight service between both cities. Don't get me wrong, I would be the first to ride it. However, it is currently not a plan and thus, the article is wrong about it. It is sad, but it is true. Keep promoting trains, but do it with facts. Promote Renfe's Paris-Barcelona service that will be created from next year, for example.

Jackie

Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

Traveling by rail is more exciting...you see the country passing by and not crammed into an economy class ticket if you fly...rail travel is for me...I love it !

Tired Traveller

Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

Let's see, my European train experience went like this in July:

München Flughafen -> München Ost -> Schladming AT

The first segment was delayed 20 minutes.

While on the first segment the second was cancelled. As a result we had to rebook München East -> Schladming (at the much more expensive same-day rate) which now instead of being direct had two transfers.

We booked first class for the leg from München Ost -> Salzburg. The door to the first class compartment was broken so we had to enter from the next car and fight our way through a packed compartment stuffed with bicycles and luggage and when we got to first class it was totally full and nobody was interested in vacating their seats. There was no attendant to be found and there was no way we could clamber back through the crowd to find one. Oh, and the toilet was also broken.

The second leg from Salzburg to Bischofshofen was half an hour late leaving Salzburg and further delayed getting into Bischofshofen.

The final leg was on-time; fortunately we had enough time in the transfer period that we didn't miss it.

When we returned from Schladming a week (again in first class) we found out that they had reconfigure the train and the car that we had booked had been removed, so with the train being almost full we had to scramble for seats and to find room for our luggage. When we got to München Ost the line between there and München Flughafen was totally shut down, so we had to again buy another ticket to get to the airport via an alternate routing.

And, of course, DB Rail wouldn't refund anything on the spot; they only will refund you if submit their stupid form (it's Germany, they have paperwork for everything), AND you have a bank with on the European system (SWIFT; they don't do ACH) so I've been waiting months on them to rule on reimbursement via voucher.

Yeah, those trains are great. And I *love* them (we take this route nearly every summer) but this year they just sucked.

Mike Chappie

Tuesday 3rd of October 2023

The railway companies have proposed an overnight route from Paris to Porto as modern high speed rail is being developed in Portugal. To make this a reality, the powers that be in Portugal aka Lisbon need to realize that more people live in northern Portugal than central Portugal. Thus connecting Porto to Madrid needs to happen NOT Madrid to Lisbon. Geography also favors this decision, also Porto and Porto are on a closer latitude than the Portuguese capitol.

Connie Young

Monday 2nd of October 2023

That was a very exciting story about trains linking cities. It is lovely to read such stories. I would love to travel on a train between cities. I wish a train would link Paris and Brussels or Paris and London. Wouldn't it be lovely to read a story about that! We can dream...