Ski resorts by train

A new future overnight

Mon 01 March, 2021


Daniel Elkan

Sleeper trains.  A mix of the magical and the practical.

There used to be lots of them.  Then there were fewer.  And now they are coming back again.

Not right away, but soon. Possibly with some new ones next season.

I keep hearing, via Back on Track, about new night-train developments. Back On Track is a network of people who want to help rail travel flourish.  It's full of knowledgeable people with a great spirit of enterprise and shared knowlege. If you are very interested in rail-travel developments, then the mailing list is great source of curated news on developments in rail. ,One of the things that is great to hear about is the resurgence of sleeper trains.

From bad to...much better
For a few years, around the time that SNCF axed most of it's sleeper trains, things weren't looking rosy for overnight travel.  But then good things started to turn around.  Austrian national carrier OBB took over the City Night Line and rebranded it as NightJet.  They showed an absolute conviction in making a success of it, and are now expanding.  The video from OBB is of the unveiling of their next generation of NightJet trains.  The video is in German, it's 42 minutes long and and it's mostly just people talking. The reason I've included it here is that it shows how seriously these guys take their trains:

France to develop 10 new sleeper trains
Macron wants 10 more sleeper trains by 2030.  Good - but not ambitious enough.  Some of these are starting soon, including Paris - Tarbes (which could be useful for reaching resorts in the Pyrenees) and Paris - Nice (which would be good for the ski resort of Isola 2000.

Open Access
In 2021 something called 'open access' has been introduced to Europe's rail network.  What this means is that new companies can run a trains on the European network — it's no longer the preserve of national carriers only. That's created a space for new entrants to come in and try things that the national carriers had neglected.

For night trains, some of the new companies are:

European Sleeper


Royal Rail Express


Some of these could end up being useful for UK-based skiers, depending on what routes and destinations they choose.

I'll keep you informed of anything significant via the Snowcarbon newsletter and website, of course.