European Sleeper couchette compartment 3

EUROPE: Dutch night train start-up European Sleeper has announced the start date for a Brussels – Amsterdam – Berlin service, as the first step in building an extensive network of night trains from Belgium and the Netherlands to provide a ‘sustainable, efficient and comfortable alternative to flying’.

The initial service is expected to begin on May 25 2023, departing from Brussels at 19.22 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from Berlin at 22.56 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

European Sleeper timetable 2023

Tickets will go on sale on February 20, with seats available from €49, couchettes from €79 and sleeper berths from €109. Breakfast will be included, and more catering options will be available.

The trains will provide space for bicycles, while pets may be transported in private compartments.

European Sleeper expects to increase the service to run daily ‘as soon as possible’. It had hoped the train could continue through to Praha, but engineering works south of Dresden meant that DB Netz was only providing paths for one long distance passenger train every 2 h, and the company was not allocated any capacity.

The company now hopes to extend its Brussels through service to Dresden and Praha from December 2023. Until then, it says, passengers will be able to connect using a EuroCity train to or from Berlin Hbf.

European Sleeper route map 2023

First step

Announcing the launch date on December 27, European Sleeper said it would be providing a ‘highly demanded’ connection between three European capitals, with a single change also providing onward travel to Paris, London or Warszawa.

The company said the availability of night train coaches had proven to be its greatest challenge. The Brussels – Berlin service will start with hired stock, but European Sleeper would ‘soon’ be investing in its own vehicles offering ‘even more comfort, a modern feel and more privacy options.’ The operator plans to use a mix of refurbished and new vehicles, recruiting Rob Gelissen to serve as Rolling Stock Project Manager.