Leave the office. Head to the train station. Have dinner on the train. Get comfortable in your cabin and go to sleep. Wake up, shower and have breakfast. Get off the train in the center of Paris. Night train trips, for many, can probably be an adventure, worthy of kids traveling through Europe with a few hundred euros. A French company promises to create a network of hotels on rails that connects Paris with some of the main European cities, including Madrid and Barcelona. And today we want to tell you why this idea has a great future and, also, why I think it is a great idea and I am looking forward to it.
When you think of long distance travel you probably think of Interrail, or even what is perhaps the most famous train of all, the Trans-Siberian. When thinking about these types of trips, it is easy to fall into clichés, or even romanticism. When one thinks of a train route like the Trans-Siberian, with its nearly 10,000 kilometers, with more than a week of travel, starting in Eastern Europe to go all over Russia, to reach the confines of the Asian continent, it is easy fall into romance.
But whoever writes these lines can speak to you from experience, that of having traveled on the Trans-Siberian. And therefore tell you why overnight sleeper train travel is a great idea and, as we will see below, a necessary alternative.
Midnight Trains wants to connect Paris in 2024 with many European cities, through night sleeper trains, including Madrid and Barcelona
Long-distance travel with low environmental impact
If the auto industry is struggling to advance its energy transition strategy, thinking of an aviation industry without greenhouse gas emissions seems little less than preparing the script for a science fiction movie. And if Europe wants to minimize, to the point of ending them, emissions, there is no choice but to propose alternatives. The Midnight Trains initiative aims to connect Paris with Madrid, Barcelona, Porto, Brussels, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Berlin, Hamburg, Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, with a network of night trains, with private cabins, restaurants, complete toilets with shower and, therefore, everything you need to be considered a train on rails.
Its main objective is that by 2024 there is an effective alternative to long-distance air travel, with the aim, above all, of minimizing the impact of long-distance travel in Europe. Leisure air travel faces many challenges, the environmental cost that will necessarily translate into the economic cost, even the stigma of what, for many, would not be a sustainable activity.
But regardless of our environmental sensitivity, overnight sleeper train travel can be an excellent idea, from a practical point of view.
Sleeper trains, a really practical solution
As I was saying, when talking about the Trans-Siberian it is easy to fall into romanticism. A server, who has had that experience, can confirm that he will not remember it for the adventures lived on rails, for experiences on the platforms of unpronounceable cities in the middle of Siberia, or for spectacular landscapes, which 15 minutes after leaving Moscow barely they will change, for thousands of kilometers, not even when they reach Irkutsk, bathed by Lake Baikal, nor Vladivostok, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. I will remember it for how practical it was for me to travel, resting, to regain strength after intense days visiting Moscow and Saint Petersburg, to visit Siberian cities like Novosibirsk during the day and return to the train at bedtime, or to gather strength to visit cities. like Irkutsk and straying off the original Trans-Siberian route to reach Ulaanbaatar or Beijing at breakfast time, with a whole day ahead of me to make the most of it.
Traveling through Europe exchanging the plane, the train, and hotel nights, for cabins on rails, seems like a more than desirable idea.. And I am convinced that more initiatives like this will prosper in the future. Currently, thanks to the high speed, it is possible to travel by rail between Madrid and Paris in 13 hours.
Perhaps pandemic nostalgia got the better of me. But tonight I would get on a train, without thinking about it, knowing that tomorrow I could spend the day visiting the Louvre or walking along the Champs Elysees. To catch a train again, wake up in Berlin, and spend the weekend stopping at every bar in Kreuzberg. And to be again on Monday having breakfast at my house, with the computer on and ready to type again. All this traveling by train and reserving only one hotel night.