Several new cross-border night trains will connect some European countries. The railway companies from Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland are currently planning to launch the new connections starting from 2021. The Belga press agency has reported that the railway companies will sign a letter of intent on Tuesday.
According to German Ministry for Transport, starting to plan a solid cooperation is a crucial step towards the Trans Europ Express (TEE) 2.0, which was already presented in September by German Minister for Transport Andreas Scheuer. The TEE 2.0 aims to connect European cities with each other, combining high-speed trains and night trains, with no need of large investments in infrastructure.
Belgium was also part of this concept, with train connections such as Brussels-Barcelona, Brussels-Berlin and Brussels-Warsaw. So far, Belgium offers one night train connection (Brussels-Vienna), operated by the Austrian railway company ÖBB. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the train has been suspended until a date still to be defined.
The first TEE was launched on 2 June 1957. Back then, the aim of the connection was to reduce air traffic. However, the trains were mainly used by businessmen as prices were high and the trains had only first-class seats: This is the reason why the TEE was cancelled in 1987.