From July 1st, Interrail Global Passes and Eurail Global Passes will be valid on European Sleeper night trains which, since May 25th, have been riding between Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Berlin. European Sleeper has sold over 10,000 tickets for its three-times-weekly trains, according to Aviation24. The number shows a growing interest in overnight rail journeys. To travel on European Sleeper trains, Interrail/Eurail Global Pass holders must however book a seat, couchette, or bed, which can be done on the European Sleeper website.
The Eurail Pass, introduced in 1959 and formerly known as Europass or Eurorail Pass, is a rail pass which permits travel through 33 European countries on nearly all railroads and several shipping lines. European Sleeper is a new Dutch-Belgian rail cooperative organization focusing on sleeper trains. At the end of May 2021, the company raised €500,000 in starting capital within three months by selling shares to over 350 small investors from various countries in Europe and beyond. In 2022, a total of €2,000,000 in shares were sold.
We believe in the importance of an interconnected and borderless Europe by rail.Carlo Boselli, CEO Eurail
A night train service between Brussels and Prague is expected to come into operation in 2024, as well as another one linking Amsterdam to Barcelona in 2025. “It’s very good competition for airplanes,” Chris Engelsman, founder of European Sleeper told Sky. “We don’t need to persuade everybody to come by train: just five per cent of current air travelers switching to overnight trains would make us full booked every day.”
There are three options on the European Sleeper trains. ’Deluxe Sleepers’ take a maximum of three people (mixed) in a compartment with a private washbasin, seats, a table and breakfast. A ‘Comfort Couchette’ means you share with 6, 4 or book it privately, sleeping on seats that become bunks. You share a washroom on the corridor. Breakfast is again included. If you’re on a budget, you can book a seat as on a normal train.
“We are very happy to welcome Interrail and Eurail pass holders on board our night trains,” said Chris Engelsman. “European Sleeper is a typical train for Interrailers. We connect three European capitals, offer a wide range of comfort levels and last but not least we reintroduce the possibility to enjoy the summer breeze from an open window. Being a true European railway, we consider this partnership a great way to promote the most remarkable and responsible way to travel across Europe.”
For European Sleeper, the introduction of the Brussels-Berlin service is an important first step in building a more extensive network of sleeper trains from Belgium and the Netherlands. In recent months, the availability of sleeper carriages has proved the greatest challenge. It has started with hired carriages, but the company will soon be investing in its own with even more comfort, a modern feel and more privacy options.
“We are delighted to welcome European Sleeper amidst our carrier membership and look forward to a successful partnership,” said Carlo Boselli, CEO Eurail. “Together with our members, we believe in the importance of an interconnected and borderless Europe by rail, made possible with a Eurail and Interrail Pass.“
As part of the Green Deal, the European Union wants to use trains to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The European Commission has identified ten night train projects worthy of financial support, including the link between Amsterdam and Barcelona.