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This is called a saving volte-face! Due with the climate emergency, the night train is regaining its appeal in the eyes of those in power, an appeal that it had never lost to travellers. In France, for example, the end of these lines had been more or less recorded by the SNCF, before President Macron announced their return in 2020. “We are going to redevelop night trains because they allows us to save money and to reduce our emissions” of CO2, the Head of State argued. Yes, but it is difficult to know which train lines are active: fortunately, a collective has published – and is being updating – a map of night trains in Europe.
This map was produced by the Back-On-Track site, a European collective which campaigns for the return of night trains, and more broadly, for the establishment of transnational lines. “International trains as well as night trains and automatic trains are an integral part of European rail traffic. Neglected night trains are a strong indicator of a disintegrated and deteriorating rail system,” reads their website. You can also take a look at their Mission Sheet.
This map, also in English, shows that even though central Europe is rather well provided with night trains, this is not really the case (yet) for France, Spain, or Great Britain. It also features beautiful invitations to travel, such as on the enticing Milan – Bari in Italy line, or Hamburg – Zurich, between Germany and Switzerland.
⌚ To help you choose the train… Do you want to do good for the planet? So here is a site that shows you all the destinations within 5 hours by train from your home.
You can also download this map of night trains in Europe from the Back-On-Track site, in PDF format. This is updated frequently, depending on the new lines that open… or close. Credit: CC-BY-NC / Juri Maier / Back-on-Track.eu.