NightJet to Brussels (Jan. 2020) and Amsterdam (Dec. 2020)

From January 2020, the Nightjet will on Sundays and Wednesdays run from Vienna (08:38 p.m.) and Innsbruck (08:44 p.m.) to Brussels. After Cologne, the train stops in Aachen, Liège and Brussels. The scheduled arrival time in Brussels-Nord is 10:45 a.m. and in Brussels-Midi 10:55 a.m.. The return journey departs on Mondays and Thursdays from Brussels-Midi at 06:04 p.m. and from Brussels-Nord at 06:16 p.m. with arrival in Innsbruck at 09:14 a.m. and in Vienna at 08:27 a.m.

The situation from January 2020

First run 19.-20.1. 2020

On 19 January, ÖBB’s first night jet will travel to Brussels. On its arrival in Brussels on 20 January, it will get a “big welcome”.

However, people there will certainly point out that an arrival time of 10:55 am is quite late and that the train should preferably run daily and not only twice a week. But: things can always change!

The train leaves on Wednesdays and Sundays from Vienna via Passau and from Innsbruck via Munich, reaches Cologne at 07:31, Aachen at 08:36, Liège at 09:43 and Brussels at 10:55. So it takes well over three hours from Cologne to Brussels, because it is forced to use the old line between Aachen and Liège. Between Brussels and Liège it is allowed to use the new line, but it takes 59 minutes from Liège-Guillemins to Bruxelles-Nord, while the ICE can do it in 40 minutes. If you change to the ICE in Cologne, you will need only 1:53 hours to Brussels and arrive there at 09:35.

Compared to the train that goes to Düsseldorf on the other five days of the week, the Brussels train has some special features:

It is accelerated during shunting in Nuremberg and leaves there about half an hour earlier. It stops at Frankfurt Airport at the long-distance station, not at the regional station, and skips the stop in Frankfurt-Süd. It arrives in Koblenz about 50 minutes earlier, but changes there to the right side of the Rhine with a stop at Bonn-Beuel instead of Bonn Hbf, so that it does not have to change direction of driving at Cologne Hbf, where it arrives 45 minutes earlier than the “Düsseldorfer”, but can continue quickly to Aachen.

Compared to an Intercity, this train loses about 40 minutes on the sections Regensburg-Nuremberg and Koblenz-Cologne together, so there is still a lot to be gained here and in the Frankfurt area.

Above all, Belgium should allow this train on its new line to Brussels. And an upgrade of the Cologne-Aachen line by DB would benefit all trains …

Again to Amsterdam

The night train services to/from Amsterdam will be reintroduced from the 2021 timetable. ÖBB, with NS as Dutch partner, will operate a daily night train Amsterdam-Munich/Innsbruck-Vienna.

This service will be subsidised by the Netherlands government with an amount of 6.7 million euros over the period 2021-2023.

The situation from December 2020.

2 thoughts on “NightJet to Brussels (Jan. 2020) and Amsterdam (Dec. 2020)”

  1. Joachim Falkenhagen says:

    Going to Amsterdam only 5 times a week might be more reasonable, in order to avoid the extra shunting an coupling at Cologne (in addition to Nuremberg). That would also allow to use the other station at Cologne Messe Deutz.

    In exchange for the financial support, the Dutch authorities should demand some speedup of the trains, which spend quite some time at Nuremberg, even if that would make arrival time at Frankfurt completely inattractive (delete stops at Frankfurt South and Mainz at that occasion). It is strange that the nonstop Nightjet is schedule to be overtaken by an IC between Koblenz and Cologne, which also stops at Bonn, but then requires only 2 minutes at Cologne central, in spite of a change of direction.

    Is Amsterdam actually the best choice for The Netherlands? A route to Rotterdam and Den Haag might attract more tourists to these to that less well known spots. And there is less or no competition from flights.

    1. Joachim Falkenhagen says:

      If ÖBB decides to run the trains from Hamburg separetely, a combination of sections from both Amsterdam and Brussels to Innsbruck/Vienna would of course be more meaningful (and not lead to too much shunting on one route), and particularly if links between Amsterdam/Brussels to Switzerland would be added.
      But it is my impression that ÖBB is focused a little too much on combining train sections, at the expense of comfort (uninterrupted sleep) and speed.

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