ÖBB will fill some night train gaps after DB closures

ÖBB – the Autrian Railways – will open night train runs from Germany to Austria and Switzerland when German Railways (DB) will close all their lines. ÖBB will take over aprox. 40% of the lines.

Timetable and bookings is open.

With ÖBB night trains partly on German tracks the following will happen from the timetable change December 11, 2016.

  • EN 490/491: Hamburg – Nürnberg – Passau – Wien
  • EN 40490/40421: Düsseldorf – Frankfurt – Nürnberg – Passau – Wien
  • EN 420/421: Düsseldorf – Frankfurt – Nürnberg – Augsburg – München – Kufstein – Innsbruck
  • EN 40420/40491: Hamburg – Nürnberg – Augsburg – München – Kufstein – Innsbruck
  • EN 470/471: Zürich – Basel Bad – Frankfurt – Erfurt – Berlin – Hamburg
  • EN 294/295, EN 40463/40236, EN 40295/40235: München – Salzburg – Rom/Venedig/Mailand
  • Zürich – Prague (via Austria)

The existing ÖBB-lines Vienna-Hamburg and Vienna-Düsseldorf will be connected with the new lines Innsbruck-Hamburg and Innsbruck-Düsseldorf to an X-shaped pair of trains with exchange of cars at Nürnberg.

Put it in another way. From the DB network, what will remain, what will be changed and what will fall out?

 München-Venedig: will be taken over 1:1
 München-Rom: re-routed via Salzburg-Villach-Venedig instead of Innsbruck-Bolzano
 München-Mailand: re-routed via Salzburg-Villach-Venedig instead of Innsbruck-Bolzano
 München-Hamburg: will be extended to Innsbruck-Hamburg and drive via Nürnberg instead of via Stuttgart-Frankfurt 
 München-Amsterdam: will be extended in the south end and shortened in northwest to Innsbruck-Düsseldorf and drive via Nürnberg instead of via Stuttgart
 Zürich-Amsterdam: will fall out
 Zürich-Hamburg: re-routed between Frankfurt and Hamburg via Erfurt and Berlin instead of via Kassel and Hannover
 Zürich-Berlin: together with the train Zürich-Hamburg; the season extension to Binz on the island Rügen will fall out
 Zürich-Dresden-Prag: will fall out
 Köln-Berlin-Prag: will fall out
 Köln-Berlin-Warschau: will fall out

>> Read this blog

>> Read more in Austrian newspaper derStandard

>> Read and listen from the ÖBB announcement

German Allianz pro Schiene is now super positive toward night trains and is arguing for better business environment for night trains, read it here.

This is the proposed exterior of the new-introduced NightJet trains by ÖBB.nightjet

DB and ÖBB: What about to work together?

While we are waiting for the ÖBB night train timetable to go public, a number of German and Austrian key figures have come together and have send an open letter to the top management of DB and ÖBB.

They ask: Why not work together to the benefit of the night train services? They ask: Strange that DB can not run such a busines, but ÖBB call it a lucrative busines. What about to get inspiration from a former railway cooperation, where German, Austrian and Swiss railways worked together for night trains in the triple joint venture called DACH?

>> Offener Brief an DB und ÖBB August 2016

Night trains to and from Russia increase passengers

In January-June 2016, passenger numbers on international and long distance services amounted to over 284,000, an increase of 3.5% compared to the same period last year.

The biggest increase was on the international routes Russia – Italy (+ 36%), Russia – Germany (+ 28%), Russia – Czech Republic (+ 21%), Russia – Austria (+ 4%), Russia – France (+ 58%), Russia – China (+ 6.3%) and Russia – Poland (+ 5%).

The increases were due to new routes and timetable changes. The 2015/2016 passenger train timetable of the Federal Passenger Company, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, re-established services with the individual countries of Europe which were interrupted in 2014.

Thus, train number 9/10 Moscow – Warsaw Polonaise now includes direct carriages to Moscow – Sofia and Moscow – Budapest. As part of this train, direct carriages will operate as part of the connection to the cities of Varna and Burgas in Bulgaria and Bar in Montenegro from June to September 2016.

In December 2015, train number 23/24 Moscow – Berlin – Paris began running three times a week instead of just twice.

In addition, the timetable of train numbers 17/18 Moscow – Nice and 23/24 Moscow – Berlin – Paris now includes new stops at the resort towns of Zell am See in Austria and Epernay in France from the beginning of the 2016 summer season.

The Russian Raiways has introduced new, comfortable sleeping cars during the last years. Picture below from Berlin with the train from Paris til Moscow.

>> Source: Russian Railways

Public opinion against DB

Just before closing time comments from many walks of life is giving DB a hard time.

>> Swiss TV broadcasts a report on night trains

Observe the footage of protests from Zurich and Copenhagen in June 2016, and notice the statements by Daniel Costantino of »umverkehR« and Thomas Sauter-Servaes (one of the experts invited by German Bundestag for the hearing in January 2015).

In the SRF broadcast we hear from the CEO of BTE (adopts Autozug Hamburg-Lörrach-Hamburg) who say that of course is a dining car here, because they are “railroaders by heart and soul” and want to offer guests a good service. In addition, travelers can take the train even without a car, if places are available.


Picture from SRF. Programme broadcasted on 29.7. 2016

Also from many other sides is DB facing negative comments.

In the German television RBB (14.9.) this critical feature was shown.

Notice that Joachim is not the company’s spokesperson, but the speaker of the employees’ committee for economic issues.

In the business website Wirtschafs Woche 1.6. is the kolumnist Marcus Werner very straight forward:

“For them (DB top management), train travel does not have to be pleasant, but lucrative. When an organisation that claims “The time belongs to you” want to bury the night train, is gives the proof: The railway management has no real railway blood in their veins.

Pleasant and lucrative at the same time – that dares the train at night traffic not to be.

And passionate rail customers, environmentalists and traffic experts call the track in horror: “WHAT MAKES THEY HERE ?? ???? !!!?”

>> Read it all

In Süddeutsche Zeitung a commentary from Karl-Heinz Büschemann 1.8. say:

Deutche Bahn (DB) is the sad proof that Germany is still a car-Republic
The railways are hard to control. They are large and complicated, but must act flexibly. DB belongs to 100 percent to the state, but is to act as a business enterprise. At the same time, the federal government as the owner of DB forget to explain what kind of mission the railways shall perform in the transport policy. The state leave the railway alone. This is as absurd as would the major shareholder Quandt family, which possess approximately half of BMW, should stay out of the strategy of the car company. So silly, to let the board potter, as no private investor would. The federal government allows that the train is traveling without a road map and compass.

>> Read more

Most important German newspaper in support for night trains

Süddeutche Zeitung is the most important paper in Germany. In a long article their Michael Kuntz is now very critical towards DB.

“Some train passengers reacted surprised when the German DB announced to set the end of the night trains in Germany. The demand is too low. But now it is yet to go on…

Once announced billboards from Deutsche Bahn, “Paris is not the best place to sleep,” was the enticing tones from DB. Another was: “Well-rested travel at night.” Now are these posters history and the night trains of Deutsche Bahn are going to stop. The DB had announced this at the end of last year, and will in one step cut away all previous lines of the classic night train service by this December.”


>> Read more (in German)

France is loosing six of eight existing night trains

FRENCH secretary of state for transport Mr Alain Vidalies confirmed in July that from October 1 the government will withdraw funding for Paris – Toulouse/Rodez – Albi, Paris – Savoie, Luxembourg – Nice/Port-Bou and Strasbourg – Nice/Port Bou services unless a new operator comes forward.

Paris Austerliz – Tarbes/Hendaye (Irun) overnight trains will be continue until the Sud Europ Atlantique high-speed line opens in July 2017, while Paris – Nice Lunéa trains will be retained until October 2017. The long-term future of Paris – Briançon and Paris – Rodez/Latour-de-Carol overnight services is assured due to the “absence of adequate alternative services.” SNCF will continue to operate these trains.

In April the government invited expressions of interest for the operation of all but two Lunéa services. However, according to the French press, prospective operators including Transdev have warned the government that private operation of these services would only be viable if all services are included.

Petitions to protest

>> The French Petition

Is organised by “Yes to Night trains”

>> The British-French Petition


Picture: Miguel Medina

Left with SNCF with subsidy is only:

Paris-Briançon and Paris-Rodez-Latour-de-Carol

These two remaining night trains are saved because there are no day trains or HST running on those lines.

New rolling stock is urgent needed, and might be leased from the Russian Railways (!)

Hereby is SNCF and the French government following exactly the same wrong and sad guidelines as the Deutsche Bahn. Be aware of some very strange figures mentioned in the medias. We should not trust official arguments, which easily could be manipulated; propaganda is probably the same as we know from Germany.

Source: International Railway Journal,  AFP / Liberation

In English you find this reference

Busy day in Berlin: Signatures and LUNA train proposal

Today 31.5. there was a handover of almost 30.000 signatures from the German petition and a presentation of new printed material about LUNA night trains.

They were two events side by side in Berlin. Martin Burkert (chairman of the German transport committee) and to the petition committee Annette Sawade (SPD) were receiving the signatures. Anette said that representatives will have the chance to meet the committee. Boss of DB Mr. Grube will be guest in about 3 weeks: They broke the promises, and DB will have to tell what they are doing. The group met 10-15 members of the Left Party. In two days that party will pass a motion in the parliament, parliaments will most likely transfer the debate to the committee and that could very well bring up a new hearing.

>> Read about it in Der Tagesspiegel

>> Read about it in Stuttgarter Nachrichten

After that a press conference about the LunaLiner initiative was held. 8-10 journalists showed up. The LunaLiner project of a European Night Train network is meant to be a challenge to DB and other railways: it shows what could be done, if they did their work. Michael Cramer (green chairman of EU transport committee) was at both occasions. He criticized the discrimination of railway transport: trains have to pay toll (»track fees«) on 100 % of the network, only 0,9 % of the road network are toll roads. The German government works with double standards by denying subsidies to night trains and keeping 17 of the 23 international airports alive only with big subsidies.
>> Find more information (in German).

The hard copy will be spread in Germany, and you may use the text and pictures from the pdf in other countries. Read more about the proposal here.

>> See a short outline of the proposal with suggested European network.


Medias tell about the 29.000+ signatures to save night trains

Normal a long distance journey by rail in Germany is 280 km. With night trains the average is rather 7-800 km. Off course are night trains an important part of the entire rail network in Europe. This is a story and a demand, that seems to continue. It will never die – despite the negative approach to night trains that is most dominant with many railway companies.

With more than 29.000 signatures the petition is a succes. And a news agency story is quoted in many German medias:


Save Swedish night trains

In this spring it is a great risk that the last regular night train left Jamtland (North western region of Sweden). SJ (major railway company) has decided that it is unprofitable to run overnight trains to and from Jämtland. Soon, also services to the north most part of Sweden will be evaluated by Trafikverket (state authority for traffic). Perhaps we are then without night train services to the entire northern Sweden.

Sign the petition initiated by the Swedish Tourist Foundation (STF)! 25.5. has 36.000 people signed the petition – the goal is 50.000!

Night Train has a future; it is environmentally friendly, time-efficient and job creating

  • We want the government to stand up for tourism and increased sustainability
  • We want the government sets long-term requirements for train operators
  • We want the government to stand up for night trains

>> Sign the petition here

SJ night train at departure from Åre

German media coverage of action in Hamburg

Last weekend d. 12.3. there was action under the auspices of the European Network Back on Track at Hamburg’s main railway station on the occasion of DB’s closure of all night trains this year.

IMG_3106The action took place after there had been a meeting with 17 participants representing organizations respectively. Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Holland, France, England, Austria and Switzerland.

The action is documented in various ways:

>> Article in Hamburger Abenblatt (German language)

>> Article in Flensburger Tagesblatt (German language)

>> Collection of pictures (comments in English)