The EU capital could be connected to Vienna by a direct sleeper train from January, the boss of Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) Andreas Matthä said in an interview published today.
“Starting in January 2020 we are planning a Nightjet to Brussels and are working hard on it,” Matthä said in an interview with the Wiener Zeitung, referring to the company’s Nightjet brand of overnight services.
Belgium is currently not included in Europe’s night train network, with foreign operators balking at the cost of running trains on the country’s railway network.
ÖBB’s commitment to expand its offering comes after the company took over Deutsche Bahn’s network of sleepers in 2016, and is buoyed by extra demand for rail services partly as a result of growing attention over the climate impacts of flying.
Day services on the Brussels-Vienna route currently take over 10 hours with at least one change. While the new night link would initially only run to the Austrian capital, the state railway could later expand direct night-time services to Brussels, an ÖBB spokesperson said.
“We are working on it,” a spokesperson for ÖBB said Saturday.
Expansion could see direct links to Berlin, Hamburg and Zurich. A Dutch connection should also be in place in 2021, Matthä said.
The Dutch government has backed plans to reintegrate night trains into its national timetable in an effort to persuade passengers to switch from polluting flights.