A Dutch start-up, European Sleeper will be launching a new night train service next year that will connect several major European cities. The new train company wants to offer the ultimate mode of transport for the environmentally-conscious business traveller.

From April 2022, European Sleepers overnight trains will link Brussels and Prague, and include stops at Amsterdam, Berlin and Dresden. 

The company aims to capitalize on surging demand from various European Union institutions in Brussels when it launches next year.

“Our partners in the Czech Republic, Regiojet, are in close contact with ministries about their way of travelling,” said the Co-founder at European Sleeper, Chris Engelsman. “There’s pressure on these institutions to travel in a more sustainable way.”

Apart from corporate travellers in Brussels that will be looking to travel greener, companies are also look to slash carbon emissions.

“I really like the idea. In the Nordics and Netherlands, flight shame is often spoken about in the media,” said Daniel Tallos, an Amsterdam-based travel manager working at a multinational retail company. “With a good product, comfortable bed and enough frequency aligned with business traveller schedules, so early morning arrivals and late evening departures, they can definitely tap into the market.”

Travel by rail is beginning to be taken more seriously by corporate travel agencies in Europe. With governments eager to support sustainable modes of transport, European Sleeper could be one of several start-ups to emerge next year. State railways of Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland, plan to follow suit and are investing a combined $605 million into a project that will link 13 cities. 

Soon travellers may have no choice but to travel by rail on these routes. Air France, after its first major bailout last year, was directed by the government to no longer compete with the high-speed trains in France on routes under two and a half hours. Staying ahead of the curve, KLM has been endorsing rail travel since its “Fly Responsibly” campaign in 2019, while Lufthansa has been in collaboration with Germany’s rail operator Deutsche Bahn to connect airports with high-speed trains.

“The trick is going to be to seamlessly integrate European Sleeper’s content with air and high-speed train options, so credible options can be offered at the point of sale,” said Chris Pouney, a former travel manager and associate at GoldSpring Consulting. “Intermodality is key.”

“We’re in contact with Eurostar to see if we can do combined ticketing,” said Engelsman, who is also a project manager at Amsterdam’s transport authority. “Maybe we can have a through ticket from London to Prague, on the Eurostar to Brussels.”

With a year to go before the launch, Engelsman is encouraging businesses and corporate travel agencies to help shape European Sleeper by offering their feedback, “We could upgrade the level of service,” he said. “There are various carriages one can rent in the market.”


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