Swiss Rail and ÖBB, the federal train operator in Austria, announced plans this week to join forces to launch new overnight train links.
The planned services will include overnight trains between Zurich and Amsterdam, Rome and Barcelona. Demand for such services is on the rise, partly driven by climate change concerns. Taking a train to Barcelona has a lower carbon footprint than a flight there.
Currently, there are overnight trains linking Zurich with Vienna, Hamburg, Berlin, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Linz, Prague, Potsdam, Budapest and Graz.
The number of passengers taking overnight trains from Switzerland rose by 25% compared to the year before. Swiss Rail believes this is a durable trend.
ÖBB, Austria’s train operator, already runs 19 Nightjet routes. Nightjet Switzerland aims to have rolled out the new links to between Zurich and Amsterdam, Rome and Barcelona by 2024.
A nightly link between between Zurich and Amsterdam is expected from December 2021 and two separate links to Berlin and Hambourg are expected by 2023, according to Swiss Rail. In addition, trains links to Rome and Barcelona are being discussed. The Barcelona train would stop in Lausanne and Geneva.
Switzerland’s federal government is considering subsidising international train travel as part of its strategy to reduce emissions.