French start-up Midnight Trains wants to offer hotel on rails
Midnight Trains, a new night train provider, plans to launch trains from 2024 connecting Paris to cities such as Madrid, Rome, Berlin and Hamburg. The emphasis is on comfort, luxury and privacy, according to the founders. “A hotel on rails, with rooms per tour group.”
Midnight Trains focuses on distances between 800 and 1,500 kilometers and expects to start in 2024 with the first connections to southern European cities. The French company is still negotiating with vehicle owners and carriers for equipment and rail access. For the time being, the company itself does not want to become a carrier.
As possible destinations, the company has named Madrid, Barcelona, Porto, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Edinburgh.
SNCF and Thalys
Founders Adrien Aumont and Romain Payet have no background in the rail sector, but made a name for themselves in France with crowdfunding platform KissKissBankBank. To gain the necessary rail expertise, they hired a number of former employees of SNCF and Thalys as advisers. There is also an artistic director who is involved in the design of the luxury hotel rooms and a restaurant with bar where you can dine. The meals are available to take to the room.
Destinations Midnight Trains
Privacy, tranquility and luxury are the keywords that Midnight Trains uses. Instead of sleeping in a room with strangers and sharing bathroom facilities, the company wants to offer each tour group their own room with their own bathroom and on-demand movies.
“The experience sold by commercial airlines is no longer up-to-date,” said Aumont. “Instead of speed, it is full of stress and discomfort. The speed they sell is an illusion, as a 1 hour flight is actually 4 hours door to door. And more importantly, air travel causes high CO2 emissions.”
The first prices and destinations have not yet been announced by Midnight Trains. More and more companies see an opportunity as short-haul flying is increasingly falling out of favour. In a short time, European Sleeper and Moonlight Express, among others, also entered the night train market. The Dutch and Belgian initiative announced this week that they would join forces and continue under the name European Sleeper.
Interested in night trains? The RailTech magazine special ‘Night trains in Europe‘ is freely available now.