More growth in EU cross-border night trains But many high barriers to entry must still be removed
In ten days’ time from now, on June 27th 2021, a new night train service of the long distance operator Snälltåget1 will depart from Stockholm to Berlin. It will be the first night train that runs in regular traffic between Sweden, Denmark and Germany since the 1990s. Yesterday, the start-up Midnight Trains announced plans to offer night trains between France & other countries. Clearly, private investors believe in night trains – and this will lead to modal shift. But more night time routes could be commercially viable – if only the high barriers to entry were removed.
SWEDEN / DENMARK: direct awards for night trains are just a painkiller, not the remedy
The only night train operator between Sweden and Germany over the past eight years has been Snälltåget, a privately owned venture, doing it on a commercial basis without subsidy. Next year it will serve Denmark as well.
Now, state rail incumbents are lobbying for directly awarded taxpayer subsidy for night trains between the same countries - only for themselves.