Loss of EuroNight Metropol

As rail users, and promoters of rail travel, we are very concerned at the proposed cutting of the Metropol night train between Berlin and Prague and between Breclav and Vienna.

This news comes at a time when, in some parts of Europe, investment is taking place in night trains (in Great Britain, upgrading the Caledonian Sleeper, and in Germany OeBB’s  development of the “Nightjet”.) Meanwhile in France the region of Occitanie  is now giving financial support to the sleeper service to Perpignan, Cerbere and Port-Bou.

At present, the Metropol connects five European capitals (including its portion to Vienna) and gives passengers greater choice and flexibility between these cities. This is especially relevant as Air Berlin has gone out of business. There is currently opposition to the expansion of Vienna Airport – all the more reason to offer an environmentally friendly  alternative to air travel.

If the Metropol is cut back, some of the passengers may be lost to rail and turn to less environmentally friendly modes of transport. Those other modes, particularly airlines and long-distance buses, can also change their services more frequently than rail, and thus offer a less stable alternative.

It is important that customers have a choice, which includes international night trains which are easy to book and reasonably priced in comparison with the other modes.  We support competition, provided that it is on a level playing field. We regularly make this point in dialogue with political decision-makers.

We are not seeking to preserve all night trains in exactly the form which they have been for decades. Sometimes night trains have been withdrawn, for example, because the construction of high speed lines has meant that day services  become more attractive.  However, no such construction is likely to happen in the near future on the Berlin – Budapest / Vienna routes.

1. We therefore strongly urge MAV to reconsider its proposal, and continue to give Hungary good access overnight from neighbouring countries, and indeed from further afield.

2. If MAV does not wish to continue this service, we would welcome an initiative from another operator, perhaps in Austria or the Czech Republic, to run it, or a comparable train, instead.
Could such an arrangement be made in time for the December 10th timetable change, however?

We welcome your views and are happy to discuss the issues further.

2 thoughts on “Loss of EuroNight Metropol”

  1. JoachimF says:

    (English below)
    Die Strecke Berlin – Dresden – tschech. Grenze (Bad Schandau) wird gegenwaertig vor 23 Uhr bzw. zurueck nach 6 Uhr befahren und koennte somit das preiswertere Trassenpreissegment “Nacht” des TPS-2018 der DB Netz nicht nutzen, wuerde ab 2018 vielmehr den hoeheren “Tages”-Trassenpreisen unterliegen. Auch die deutschen “Nacht”-Trassen waeren deutlich teurer als die tschechischen.

    Die Fahrtzeit Budapest-Berlin war aber auch sehr lang, vielleicht kann jetzt fuer Budapest-Prag eine bessere zeitliche Lage erreicht werden – wenn hoffentlich nicht das ganze ostmitteleuropaeische Kurswagennetz zusammenbricht.

    Der Tagesverkehr Prag-Berlin mit EC wird, wenn die Aussage stimmt, nach dem Bestellerprinzip gefoerdert. Wer weiß dazu naeheres, auch bzgl. der Wettbewerbsgleichheit des Nachtzuges?

    ENGLISH: The German part of the route from Berlun to Budapest (and Vienna) and retour could not benefit from the German track access segment “night” as of 2018, because the route is run before 23:00 / after 6:00.

    Berlin-Budapest had a quite long journey time, anyway. I was told that the Prague-Berlin day trains (EC) obtain subsidies, someone knows more about details?

  2. Niels Benedikter says:

    Can someone who speaks Hungarian set up a petition to MAV to protest this decision?
    We should also inform the German government – the parliament recently accepted a proposal by the government that demanded night train connections to be monitored and international collaborations in the night train market to be promoted. We definitely want at least a statement from MAV and the German government on the withdrawal of the Metropol. Maybe also from the Austrian government? Has anyone inquired with OEBB, whether they see a future for Vienna – Berlin? After all, they are running Zurich – Berlin – Hamburg, as well as Vienna – Hamburg, so Vienna – Berlin should fit in very well!

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