Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth
Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

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The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.

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  1. I’m not sure it’s a great idea for several reasons. People’s faith in trains has eroded given they strike at the drop of a hat and ruin everyone’s work day and vacations alike. Would these night trains be cheaper and faster than airfare? No one wants to wear a mask all night while trying to sleep. I think they need to think it through better.

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