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TRAVEL NEWS

What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany

You can now catch an evening train from Copenhagen and wake up in either Hamburg or Berlin, thanks to a newly launched overnight train service from Høje Taastrup.

What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany
The first night train since 2014 ran from Høje Taastrup to Berlin June 27th. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

On June 27th, Swedish train company Snälltåget sent its first night train from Stockholm to Berlin, stopping in Høje Taastrup outside Copenhagen on its way to Germany. 

This will be the first international overnight train route through Denmark since November 2014, when Swiss train service CityNightLine ceased service to Denmark.

Here’s what you need to know about the new night train connection from Copenhagen to Germany.

I’m ready to go! What time can I catch the train in Copenhagen? 

The train stops in Høje Taastrup at 10:45 p.m. It drops off in Hamburg at 5:31 am and Berlin at 8:52 am the following morning, according to Snälltåget. The return trip begins from Berlin at 7:02 pm and Hamburg at 11:26 pm, arriving in Høje Taastrup at 6:38 am the following morning.

Image: Snälltaget

When will the night train run?

Departures from Sweden will operate daily from June 27th until September 5th and then on Wednesdays and Saturdays until September 29th. Departures from Germany will operate daily from June 28th until September 5th and then on Wednesdays and Saturdays from September 8th until October 2nd.

 

How much does the train cost?

Prices vary depending on departure and class of comfort. Prices are available via Snälltåget’s online booking system.

There are three levels of comfort. The most affordable option is the purchase of a basic reserved seat. There is also the option to book a wider reclining seat, which includes bedding. Private compartments, accommodating up to six travellers, are also available.

The private compartment can convert from seat mode into sleep mode, with three bunk beds on each side of the compartment. As a result of Covid-19, Snälltåget is not accepting solo bookings in compartments. 

Snälltåget honors valid Interrail Global Pass, but also requires the purchase of a reservation, which vary in price from 145 DKK to 1680 DKK. The entire trip must take place within the validity period of your Interrail pass.

What amenities are available?

There are two restaurants aboard the train. This includes Krogen (The Pub), which requires a reservation, and Lönnkrogen (The Little Pub), which offers drinks, snacks, and pre-ordered breakfast.

The night trains offer Wi-Fi and power outlets, and each coach regardless of class has two toilets. Unfortunately, pets and bikes (except folding bikes) are not allowed on the journey.

Berlin skyline
The new overnight train picks up in Høje Taastrup at 10:45 p.m., and drops off in Hamburg at 5:31 a.m. and Berlin (picture) at 8:52 a.m. the following morning. Photo: Florian Wehde/Unsplash

I’ve made it to Hamburg or Berlin. What now?

In addition to experiencing Hamburg and Berlin, tourists can continue their journey by night train with ÖBB Nightjet, a service the Austrian national railway announced in December 2020. Night trains from Hamburg connect to Vienna, Innsbruck, or Zurich, and from Berlin to Zurich, Basel, or Vienna.

A French startup, Midnight Trains, is hoping to further expand Europe’s network of overnight trains in 2024, connecting cities in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and Scotland. The Guardian reports that ticket prices would be competitive with short-haul flights, including hidden costs of baggage fees and transit to and from the airport.

Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht came to the platform to meet the first overnight train and make a short speech
Minister of Transport Benny Engelbrecht came to the platform to meet the first overnight train and make a short speech. Photo: Claus Bech / Ritzau Scanpix

What’s behind the return of Europe’s night trains?

Over the years, Europe’s night trains were phased out as the popularity of low-cost flights and long-distance buses increased, The Guardian reported. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s anticipated that tourists will have a greater interest in more sustainable forms of travel.

Night trains are a part of the European Commission’s plans to shift passengers toward rail service, as outlined in its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy released in December 2020.

The new push toward night trains has long been awaited by some Danes. In 2018, the Transport, Building and Housing Committee at Christiansborg received roughly 42,000 signatures demanding the return of night trains in Denmark.

“There is great interest in traveling by train and night train, seen from an environmental perspective,” said Marco Andersson, sales manager in the Swedish company. Snälltåget says it utilizes green energy, including water, solar, and hydroelectric, to reduce the environmental impact of the overnight train journey.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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