First night train connecting Brussels and Berlin starts operations

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – An overnight direct train service connecting Brussels and Berlin was launched this week by Dutch-Belgian railway firm European Sleeper reflecting a push in Europe to bolster less polluting alternatives to air travel.

The European Commission has voiced support for establishing new rail services to improve cross-border connections in the bloc. The European Sleeper also plans a night service train from Amsterdam to Barcelona, due to start up in spring 2025, as well as other night services, the company said.

The first train departing Brussels was scheduled to leave at 1922 CET (1722 GMT) on Friday and arrive in Berlin at 0801 CET (0601 GMT). The first train from Berlin to Brussels left on Thursday evening.

European Sleeper was set up in 2021 and Brussels to Berlin will be its first overnight route. The line will be extended to Dresden and Prague in 2024 with more routes in the works.

(Reporting by Julia Payne; Editing by Susan Fenton)