Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland are expanding their successful partnership for night train services - A strong night train network is an important milestone on the road to reaching the EU’s climate targets - Four new international Nightjet connections by 2024
Europe is aiming to grow closer together, and Europe’s rail network is no exception. Four European rail companies – Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB), Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), France’s SNCF and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) – plan to build on their already successful partnership to help achieve this objective. Today, on the side lines of the EU Council of Transport Ministers, the companies’ CEOs, Dr Richard Lutz (DB), Andreas Matthä (ÖBB), Jean-Pierre Farandou (SNCF) and Vincent Ducrot (SBB), announced their plans to partner more closely.
First up on the agenda for this expanded partnership are four new Nightjet lines, which will connect 13 of Europe’s largest cities via overnight services in the coming years:
- December 2021: Vienna–Munich–Paris and Zurich–Cologne–Amsterdam
- December 2023: Vienna/Berlin–Brussels/Paris
- December 2024: Zurich–Barcelona
The announcement kicks off the European Year of Rail. European Transport Committee MEPs agreed on 1 December to dedicate 2021 to strengthening rail transport. A strong rail network will be crucial if the EU is to reach its climate targets. And part of having a strong rail network is having a strong night train network – the key to sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility. The four partner rail companies have been working closely with policy makers, and by agreeing to step up cooperation at all levels, they are making a clear commitment to night train services.
Andreas Scheuer, Germany’s Minister of Transport: “Boarding the train in Munich or Berlin in the evening and arriving relaxed in Paris or Brussels the next morning – thanks to our Trans-Europ-Express TEE 2.0 and appealing night train services, we will soon be offering even more climate- and environment-friendly rail services like this. This is a very specific result of our Rail Summit and our Presidency of the Council of the European Union.”
Leonore Gewessler, Minister for Climate Action, Austria: “Night trains are the future of climate-friendly mobility within Europe. It is our common task to provide sufficient night train services for our passengers in Europe. To achieve this, the conditions for European night train traffic must be well designed in the coming years. I am pleased about this common commitment across Europe.”
Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, France’s Minister Delegate for Transport: “We all fundamentally believe that night trains play a key role in the Europe of tomorrow. They are environmentally friendly and will further encourage our citizens to travel by train.”
Peter Füglistaler, Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Transport: “I’m happy about this international, coordinated principle decision. The railways now have the necessary political support to convince customers with attractive new offers.”
Richard Lutz, CEO of DB: “Europe’s leading railways are joining forces for the night train. This is a great day for the climate, our customers and the connection of Europe by rail. The night train business depends on partnerships. If all railway companies only provided a ‘little night train’, no one would benefit. The solution is a clear division of labour, embedded in real team work.”
Andreas Matthä, CEO of ÖBB: “Only through the close cooperation of railway operators in Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria can we significantly expand the Nightjet network and offer even more climate-friendly mobility in Europe. With the addition of Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, Vienna and Barcelona, more European metropolises will be connected via Nightjet services in an environmentally friendly way in the future.”
Jean-Pierre Farandou, CEO of SNCF: “For SNCF, this collaboration provides a good opportunity to complement our national night train service with an international offer. Night trains are historically important to SNCF. We have strong demand and enthusiasm from passengers and public authorities because these trains are essential to support services to our territories. We would wager that, with our European partners, we can benefit from the experience of Nightjet to offer attractive European night train services.”
Vincent Ducrot, CEO of SBB: “The extension of international connections within daytime and night-time rail traffic is very important for Switzerland. This cooperation will now enable us to implement our expansion plans more rapidly. By 2024, we will extend our night-time traffic offer from Switzerland from six lines to ten – to 25 destinations. This represents a significant contribution to the promotion of climate-friendly mobility.”
(Source: Deutsche Bahn AG)