Back-on-Track is a European network to support European cross-border passenger train traffic and in particular the night trains.

We want to support the New Green Deal in Europe, where railways and night trains can play a major role. See our input to this political process.

Visit the European Year of Rail website, including a calendar

>> About us, our mission and suggestions

>> How to book tickets with European night trains?

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TRAIN OR PLANE?A couple of days ago European Environment Agency has published a report that brings this very important question to the public and political arena.Unfortunately the report is a little bit confusing, since it want to include both climate impact, noise and air pollution into the same calculation in Euros per passenger kilometer. You can imagine it is not easy, and actually misleading. Other figures are also a little bit strange, but anyway it is important that EEA is contributing. However, the best figure must be grams CO2e per passenger kilometer from various means of transport.Read this story which is also a first comment and correction to the EEA report to give a better picture of the EEA dataset.back-on-track.eu/new-comparison-from-european-environmental-agency-eea-on-trains-versus-planes/ ... See MoreSee Less
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31 thoughts on “”

  1. Great cause, great site!

    My partner and I have been travelling by train for years to holiday and visit with family and town-twinning colleagues in France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary.

    Starting here in UK – now always with Eurostar – the night trains across the continent mean that long distances are possible in comfort.

    Thello is/was 🙁 useful for the Alto Adige (cycling!) by dropping off early morning in Verona and taking the northbound train; or Tuscany (cycling!) via Milan.

    There is (and expanding) good night service from Zurich (easily reached directly from Paris by TGV) that brings Vienna and Budapest in easy reach. Or hop off in Vienna and cycle to Budapest (recommended).

    Berlin (and so Dresden for a wedding) was reachable overnight from Brussels (the surprise waking up and seeing all the wind generators across the north German plain).

    Top tip is that hotels will often let you have your room early – even if you say you will be arriving for breakfast! Night trains I’ve been on don’t yet have showers 🙂

  2. When young I often traveled by train from Copenhagen to Rome. The train (which originated in Stockholm, would consist of carriages that went directly to various European cities. On Copenhagen main station you could see carriages going direct to Moscow, Paris, Rome, Munchen, Vienna, Amsterdam, etc. etc. Carriages would be decoupled and new ones added along the way at the main rail hubs. Today one has to switch numerous time to make the same journey, making long distance train travel literally impossible. Now Copenhagen – Rome is minimum 5 train changes, in the 60s it was NONE. It is remarkable that the state-owned railways of the day could manage the logistics of this without computers, while today the privately owned companies cannot figure it out. Another killer of long distance train travel was the abandonment of compartments. With compartments you can travel with friends or family in private, play games, eat, talk, etc without disturbing others. For me to get back in long distance trains, they have to bring back compartments and direct carriages

  3. Im Nachgang zur eher unbefriedigend ausgefallenen Pressekonferenz vom 8.12.2020: Warum ist in den bisherigen Veröffentlichungen (z.B. [1]) zu den neuen transeuropäischen Nachtzugverbindungen das EU-geförderte Projekt Rail Baltica nicht aufgeführt, obwohl darin bereits die Schaffung einer durchgehenden Nachtzugverbindung Berlin-Tallin vorgesehen ist [2]? Schließlich gehören Litauen, Lettland, Estland und Finnland auch zur EU.
    [1] https://www.nachtzug-bleibt.eu/app/download/14461187823/TEE-2-0-deutsch.pdf?t=1607189371
    [2] https://www.railbaltica.org/operational-plan-provides-new-insights-on-rail-baltica-international-regional-and-cargo-train-movement-in-2026-2056/

  4. The EU is currently discussing the introduction of a quota for sustainable aviation fuels.
    As part of the public participation, there is the opportunity to submit comments until October 28, 2020, cf. https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/ReFuelEUAviation?showecas=true and https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12303-ReFuelEU-Aviation-Sustainable-Aviation-Fuels .

    My suggestion here is to give international travel with (night) trains equal status with “sustainable” aviation fuels and thus include it in the calculation of the quota (which can be somewhat more ambitious thereby).

    Support of this concept through further contributions resp. statements to the public hearing is very welcome.

  5. I recently read that the suspended Thello sleeper between Paris and Venice may not be re-eastablished due to a change of strategy in the company. I hope this is not true as travelling by day (even on the excellent TGV trains) takes too long .

    1. I hope this won’t be true because this is a very attractive connection using very recent wagons/very comfortable. Not only for French people but even for me, a Flemish Belgian living in Bruges. It only takes me a couple of hours to reach Paris by train from where I can take the night train over the alps to Milan or Venice. I planned to take it this year but then that bloody C thing appeared!!
      WE HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO KEEP THIS TRAIN RUNNING.

      It is strange to see that the recently launches OBB nighttrain between Brussels and Vienna kept on running this year but the Thello between Paris and Venice has been suspended since the appearance of the virus….

  6. Any car trains running in Europe? I am trying to return to the UK from Malta. I have an emotional service dog and Malta doesn’t have a recognised program so I can’t get her on a flight. I need to ferry and drive, to be able to get on a car train at least part of the way would be ideal for me to get some rest.

    1. Look for car transport within Italy (I am not sure about recent possibilities). Düsseldorf-Innsbruck will not be too helpful for you.

  7. Of course, we are in favour of night trains. But let’s check the carbon footprint correctly. A train carrying ten passengers in a sleeping car is not quite the same as a fully loaded TGV carrying 80+ pax per carriage.

  8. EU should propose a unification of all the different rules and standards across all the European railways to improve paneuropean traffic.
    When building new high speed railway lines, why not foresee extra tracks for pan European goods transfers using high speeds trains for goods too? This could be based on solution like in Switzerland or for Eurotunnel.

  9. Please bring back the night trains in France and Spain. We always went to the South of France with the night train – and if we wanted, we could even continue to go to the Spanish coasts and arriving at midday. It would also be good to have the Spanish night trains back, like the train Alhambra connecting Barcelona with Granada. It was possible to go from the Alsace to Andalucia within 24 Hours. Now it takes much longer with the train and you have to spend a night on the track.
    We want to save our Environment – please give us the chance to do so!

  10. The whole problem is due to unjust taxation. As long as jet fuel (kerosene) is tax-free, night trains will never have it easy to survive. What we need is, first of all, fair and equal market conditions for all modes of transportation. We need a jet fuel tax!

    If you think so, too, pleas support also the European Citizen’s Initiative:
    https://www.endingaviationfueltaxexemption.eu/

    Spread on facebook and twitter! @kerosenetax_EU

  11. Wow! I didn’t realized that a site like this existed. I fully support this, as in my home country (Spain) the nocturnal services are dying of in detriment of the High Speed services, unable to travel from one extreme to another in a reasonable place of time without hosting on the destination, for example, to attend a job interview to aspire to a job vacancy, while using a nocturnal train service one can go and leave after the interview without more logistic complications or for example for going Erasmus without having to take a single damn plane (the nuclear power of transport, as it is the safest mean of transportation… until something fails while the plane is flying).

  12. I have heard about your organization/movement recently and must say I do support you! Hope night train international connection accross Europe will be reestablished during next years! Nice to see that some operators already reconsider the option to get such trains back on tracks!;) Wish you the best from Prague. Go to Prague by train!)

  13. From Belgium,
    I use the night train Paris Gap (Briançon ) every year . Train + bicycle (10€extra).
    Best and easiest way to go there with my bicycle.
    Just love it.

  14. I wrote the Belgian Railcompany (NMBS) a few months ago about cartrains from Brussels to Narbonne (F) as there were in the past. Their answer: we sold all our cartrainwagons !!!
    Bring back the night/car train to Southern Europe !

  15. Dear ,
    Go on with Back on track please !!!! It was Great fun to go on holiday by train in the eighties. The eighties ! The system worked very good.
    Cheap, direct train from Belgium to Spain. Special youth pass.

    Dancing all night long in the disco – waggon . Special effects while dancing when the train makes small movements. And sleeping for the rest of distance.
    Ecological the best choice anyway and in that way recommandable nowadays and then
    too !!
    .
    No hours checking in at an airport. No craze suicide pilots or very surely wrong built planes like Boeing. No jetlags, more comfortable anyway.

    Question of Train Line Design and very good promotion, must work anyway !!!! Cheaper is not always the best !! The way you make it very attractive is what counts.
    Greets, Peter

  16. A real pain ! decision to get rid of night trains was/is all but a clever decision. It’s time to come back to wiser paths.

  17. Gage de désenclavement, les trains de nuit avec couchettes ont longtemps relié la Hollande à l’Italie via Bruxelles, Luxembourg, des villes de l’est de la France, Bâle, Berne et d’autres villes suisses. Après une nuit réparatrice, travailleurs émigrés, vacanciers, professionnels ou familles débarquaient (presque) frais et dispos en centre ville. Dans les années 80, ces liaisons internationales de nuit furent abandonnées et au début des années 2000, les trains de jour se raréfièrent.
    A Berne par exemple, la situation ne cesse de se détériorer … fin 2019, il n’y aura plus aucun train direct pour Paris et … de Berne à Bruxelles, aujourd’hui déjà, on doit passer par Paris et changer de gare! Perte de temps, de confort et prix plus élevés, restent la route ou les airs! Et la transition écologique dans tout ça?

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  19. I’m strongly in favour of reintroducing night trains and upgrading public transportation in Europe

  20. It is right that train travel is subsidised so that people can a) get to work; b) get to education; c) to to hospital etc. All are vital for a country’s economy.

    Why should I, as a taxpayer, pay for someone else to go on holiday?

    Long-distance travel (of any mode) is for a) leisure and b) business.

    Leisure travellers can generally travel at any time, so can occupy spare seats. If a company cannot afford to send someone on a business trip then it is not a viable business. So inter-city journeys should not need subsidies.

    Just because Night Trains are not viable compared to aeroplanes that is not a valid argument for justifying subsidy for Night Trains.

    Why does such a leisure journey need to be made at all?

    If you are promoting a green agenda then you should be promoting local holidays, say, within 250 km of home. Night trains are unnecessary.

    1. I get your point, but you should know that you are already paying for other people’s leisure and business trips. Kerosine for airplanes is currently not taxed, meaning that planes effectively get financial advantage over other, more environmentally alternatives like night trains. So this firstly needs to be set straight, which will never happen without proper political prioritization of trains as useful and necessary mode of transport. If you’re paying for other people’s holidays anyway, you might as well be paying for a more ecological mode of transport.

      Additionally, it is good to realize that people will keep on travelling for leisure or business and will often choose the cheapest option. So, yes, it is the government’s responsibility to make the most environmentally friendly option also the cheapest option. Because if climate warming really breaks through, it will also be the ordinary citizen and tax payer (you) who has to deal and cough up the (by then much more expensive) crisis measures (like building dams against rising sea levels or investing in all kinds of complex infrastructures for combatting droughts etc.). So why not just think ahead?

      Finally, shouldn’t climate policies be socially just? Just taxing kerosine without providing affordable alternatives really just entrenches existing inequalities, allowing the rich to travel and forcing the poor to stay home. That will only fuel the anger of people who’ve never really had anything and now see their only chance of exploring the world a little taken away from them as well. Result? Even more polarization and stronger rise of populist extreme right. Climate change will already hit the poorest the hardest; climate change policies really shouldn’t do that too.

      1. I would also like to add that tourism benefits the economy of a lot of countries/cities, so making them easily reachable by any means of transportation could help those places.

        And if I’m not wrong, a lot of airports also receive government funding… So with that, you’re also paying for other peoples vacation.

  21. Why are connections to longdistance travelling in EU shut down? Very climate contraproductive. Earlier I could easily go from STOCKHOLM to Paris,now it seems almost impossible no direct connections no night trains! What are the politicians really do? They fly themselves!?
    Nell

  22. Le train de nuit Paris Nice, reste le seul moyen de faire ce trajet de manière supportable, les temps de parcours TGV ayant rien d’attractif

  23. I heard about your organisation in the Danish Radio.
    I love travelling by train – not nessacerely night-train – but still.
    I do’nt have any further comment until I get an impression of how to communicate with somebody.
    Irene

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