Nine years after it ended, there will again be an overnight sleeper between two of Europe's key capitals, and there are plans for a high-speed train later as well.
The sleeper service, led by Austria's rail ÖBB, will start Dec. 11, with three trains a week in each direction. ÖBB, which has been a leader in reviving Europe's once-abandoned sleeper services, will operate the route with Germany's DB and France's SNCF. By October 2024, service will operate daily. Demand is there for more service, but there are not yet enough new sleeper cars to meet it.
Strasbourg will be a stop on the route because of demands from members of the EU Parliament that meets there.
There will also be stop at Mannheim, Germany, which ÖBB is developing as a sleeper hub, with services from Brussels to Vienna and Paris to Vienna also stopping there. Passengers heading from Brussels and Paris to Berlin and Vienna will board different cars on the same train, with the cars rearranged in Mannheim to travel to their destination. The same will happen in the other direction.
The French and German capitals are set for shorter journey times as well, with a high-speed TGV service set to begin in late 2024 with a journey time of around seven hours. It, too, will connect with the French rail system at Strasbourg, the terminus of SNCF's TGV-Est.