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How to travel on European night trains

Additions to night train routes

New and improved services will be available from and to a swathe of destinations, including Basel, Dresden, Genova, Praha and Stuttgart.

| Last Updated: over 1 year ago

The enhancements to the European night train network on this year's major timetable update, which comes into effect from December 11th, will continue the pattern of recent years with multiple new destinations served,

This article will be updated when other service amendments are are confirmed.

Zurich and Basel ↔ Dresden and Prague

The most significant addition to the timetable will be a new route, to be operated by Czech CD Night trains, which links both Zurich and Basel with Praha/Prague via Freiburg and Dresden.

The train will typically be scheduled to depart from Zurich HB at 19:59 and Basel SBB at 21:13, with usual arrival times into Dresden hbf at 07:05 and in Praha hln at 09:38.
In the other direction it will be typically scheduled to depart from Praha hln, the city's main station at 18:26 and from Dresden Hbf at 21;10, with arrivals into Basel SBB at 07:20 and Zurich Hb at 09:05.
In both directions it will be attached to the existing Zurich <> Berlin service for the section of the route between Zurich and Leipzig.

The existing Zurich <> Praha overnight service via Linz, which is in effect a couple of coaches attached to the Zurich <> Wien sleeper service and then attached to a daytime train between Linz and Praha/Prague, is to be retained.
Though heading west it will be typically departing from Praha hln at 18:21, so only five minutes before the train on the new route, but it will be typically scheduled to be into Zurich 45mins sooner at 08:20.
In the other direction the train on the route via Linz will typically be departing Zurich at 21:40 and arriving into Praha at 10:39; so it will give an opportunity to depart Zurich more than 90 mins later, but will be in the Czech capital only around an hour after the new service's arrival.

So what's most significant about the new overnight route is the swathe of new direct journey opportunities it delivers, because Basel, Freiburg, Offenburg, Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe will now have direct services to/from Dresden, Bad Schandau, Decin and Praha/Prague.
For those exploring Europe, the Black Forest and Saxon Switzerland, will now be linked by train, thanks to the station calls in Offenburg and Bad Schandau.
Zurich will also gain new new direct links with Dresden, Bad Schandau and Decin.

This new service also opens up new journey opportunities thanks to the connections it offers, a Lyria service from Paris will usually be arriving into Basel SBB station at 19:26, which also transforms the London to Prague/Praha journey by train.
Heading west a Lyria service to Paris will also be offering an easily timed connection of around 70 minutes from the Prague train's arrival in Basel.

Zurich ↔ Hamburg

On the current timetable the Zurich and Basel <> Hamburg overnight Nightjet service is attached to the Zurich <> Berlin train for the section of the route between Zurich and Gottingen.
However, with the Berlin train to be joined by the service to/from Praha for the western section of its route, the train to/from Hamburg is to become an entirely separate service.
From December 11th the Nightjet to Hamburg via Hannover will typically be departing Zurich HB an hour later at 20:59 and from Basel SBB at 22:13, but with no change to its arrival time into Hamburg Hbf at 07:54.

Heading south towards Switzerland the alteration is more significant, the Nightjet will usually be scheduled to depart Hamburg Hbf more than an hour later at 22:07 and will also arrive an hour later into Basel (07:59) and Zurich (10:05).
Outside of the peak summer timetable, this will allow more than two hours to connect in Hamburg from the train which typically departs Kobenhavn at 15:26.

Stuttgart ↔ Budapest, Venice and Zagreb

On the current timetable there is a train which departs from/to München/Munich nightly that is one of the night train services which divides during its journey, so that different parts of the departure can serve different destinations; Budapest, Zagreb via Ljubljana and Venezia/Venice.
From December 11th it is having its journey extended from/to Stuttgart, with calls in Augsburg and Ulm.
Heading west its usual departure time from Stuttgart Hbf will be 20:29, with connections in Stuttgart available from Paris Est, arrives Stuttgart at 19:04, and from Frankfurt (Main).
In the other direction it will typically be arriving into Stuttgart at 08:37 with easily timed connections available on to Paris, Frankfurt (Main), Hannover and Hamburg.

Though the timings of the arrival and departure into Ljubljana and Zagreb, and other station calls east of Salzburg will be altered, because in both directions between Schwarzach St Veit and Zagreb, the coaches will be joined with the Zurich <> Zagreb service.
The Munchen to destinations east of Salzburg journey time will therefore be around two hours slower, with arrivals into Ljubljana at 08:09 and into Zagreb at 10:39.
Heading west the train to Munchen and Stuttgart will be departing Zagreb at 19:38 and Ljubljana at 22:08, timings which are around 80 minutes earlier than currently.

Vienna and ↔ Genoa and La Spezia

The city of Genova/Genoa is to join the Nightjet network, because from December 11th the existing service on the Munchen/Munich* and Wien ↔ Milano route is to be extended from/to La Spezia.
It will be making calls Genova Piazza Principe station and in the coastal resort town of Rapallo; and in The Cinque Terre at Levanto.
*= The train is joined together for the part of the journey between Villach and La Spezia.

Because this train will no longer be terminating in or starting from Milan it will be switched from Porta Garibalidi station to Milano Rogoredo, a station which is much further from the centre as its located on the southern edge of the city.
It is connected to Milano Centrale by Regionale trains, but it's most frequent services operate along the city centre tunnel in Milano, the Passante, which has six stations in the city's central area.


Simon Harper

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