Night trains – for better connections between cities and regions

Scandria Alliance members Berlin and Viken county hosted an #EURegionsWeek workshop on 11 October 2023 about an improved night train network.

Scandria Alliance members Berlin and Viken county were partners of the workshop “Night trains – for better connections between cities and regions“ during this year’s European Week of Regions and Cities, the biggest annual Brussels-based event dedicated to cohesion policy.

About the workshop

As the European night train network is currently under-developed, the workshop aimed to show advantages that cities and regions can gain from good connections in an improved night train network, and which steps need to be taken.
The event took place in Brussels on 11 October 2023 and was organised by Berlin’s Senate Department for Mobility, Transport, Climate Action and Environment.
The speakers Elmer van Buuren (founder of European Sleeper), Siv Henriette Jacobsen (governing mayor of the Norwegian region of Viken) and Catarina Erceg (visitBerlin) explained practical experiences and the political dimension. As a result of the lively discussion, the participants’ awareness of the topic was raised.

Key take-aways from the discussion during the workshop include:

  • Night trains are getting more and more popular as a sustainable, comfortable and time-saving way of travelling.
  • Cities and regions are increasingly lobbying the national and European level for better night train connections – and they should do so with a joint voice.
  • Many challenges and barriers remain, including improved cooperation between national infrastructure managers in timetable coordination, funding and financing, in particular for new market entrants, and the availability of rolling stock.

© Simon Tartarotti on Unsplash

Study: Berlin could become European night train hub

The workshop was based on the findings of Berlin’s 2021 feasibility study “Berlin as the Hub of a European Night Train Network”. One of its conclusions is that Berlin has great opportunities to become a night train hub for connections to other metropolises in the east, west, north and south. Specifically, the study sees potential for additional night trains from to the Baltic States (Tallinn and Vilnius), to Zagreb and Belgrade, westwards to Lyon, southwards to Italy (Milan, Rome) and northwards to Oslo and Stockholm. The prerequisites for this include a massive network expansion in Europe, as in the ongoing Rail Baltica or Brenner Base Tunnel projects.

Watch the recording from the workshop here: