Night train speeding through countryside

UIC launches night train working group

On through the night. Soon perhaps to Edinburgh (Image: Pxhere)source: Pxhere (royalty free - no attribution)

UIC will create a new night train working group within the Intercity and High-Speed Committee. It should bring together night train players and strengthen the economic situation for night trains, kicking off activities after summer 2021.

The renewed interest in night trains has unsurprisingly not gone unnoticed by the International Union of Railways (UIC). During the last plenary session of the UIC Intercity and High-Speed Committee, held on 23 June 2021, the committee members decided on the creation of the working group, where members are invited to take a proactive role.

Growing environmental awareness due to the pandemic has resulted in a shift in customer mobility habits and has revived demand for low-carbon transport alternatives such as long-distance rail travel, says UIC. Railway undertakings are launching, developing, or reviving declining night train services, with the aim of establishing new connections and enlarging the current night train network.

UIC is the appropriate body for discussing these topics, taking into account its neutrality and the large number of members involved, says the association. With members from all European countries and most of the world, it is a forum for cooperation, dialogue and sharing best practice among its members.

Europese network

The vision in Europe for 2030 is a network with 15 domestic overnight lines (some of them slightly crossing the borders, for example to Geneva or Brussels), and 15 international lines, going all the way to Lisbon, Malmö or Budapest. The launch of this pilot network by 2030 could represent more than 10 million passengers per year. These are to be shifted from planes and cars to rail, leading to less CO2 emissions. If operators are able to meet the major challenges they face, night trains could play an important role in the post-pandemic world and significantly contribute to reducing transport emissions.

Against this backdrop, the main goals of this UIC Night Train Working Group are to:

  • Build a partnership bringing together the night trains players
  • Implement standards for coaches and sales systems
  • Strengthen the economic situation of night trains
  • Specify path fees/track access charges for night trains

In addition, the creation of the Working Group is an opportunity to share best practice and develop common projects and standards in the areas of rolling stock, operations, corridors, cross-border, business and economic models, and on-board services.


The Group will work closely with other UIC Working Groups of the Passenger Department: Working Group in charge of defining the Special Conditions of International Carriage (SCIC) for Night Trains within the Passenger Services Group, the Rail System Department and other UIC Platforms.

Members are welcome to join this Night Train Working Group through the Intercity and High-Speed Committee. As the committee’s objective is to kick off the activities of this new Working Group after summer 2021, any interest in joining needs to be shown by 30 July. In addition, UIC members can also express an interest in being Chair or co-Chair of this new Working Group.

RailTech published a digital magazine on Night Trains in Europe, which is available here.

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Author: Esther Geerts


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