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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

‘A game changer’: Airlines demand EU explain new border system for non-EU travellers

Industry associations representing airlines have called on European authorities to plan a “public communications campaign” to alert non-EU nationals about new requirements to enter and exit the Schengen area.

'A game changer': Airlines demand EU explain new border system for non-EU travellers

The EU Entry/Exit System (EES) will record the biometric data (finger prints and facial recognition) of non-EU citizens travelling for short stays to the Schengen area (EU countries minus Ireland, Romania and Bulgaria, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), each time they cross the external borders.

Fully digital, the system will enable the automatic scanning of passports replacing manual stamping by border guards. The data collected will be kept in a centralised database shared among the Schengen countries.

The EES was created to tighten up border security and will ensure the enforcement of the 90-day limit in any 180-day period for tourists and visitors. But it requires changes in the infrastructure at the external borders, including airports, and the setting up of a new digital infrastructure to connect authorities in participating countries.

Its entry into operation has already been delayed several times. The latest date for the EES launch was May this year, but last week European authorities decided to postpone it again “due to delays from the contractors”. It is now expected to enter into force at the end of 2023, as The Local reported this week.

Airline associations including European region of Airports Council International (ACI), Airlines for Europe (A4E), the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the delay and said further preparations are needed.

“The EES will be a game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed. There are, however, a number of issues which must be resolved to ensure a smooth roll out and operation of the new system so that air passengers do not face disruptions,” a joint statement says.

Things to be resolved include a “wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at national border crossing points by national authorities, funding by member states to ensure a sufficient number of trained staff and resources are deployed to manage the EU’s external border, particularly at airports,” and the “deployment of sufficient resources” to help airports and airlines with new procedures.

Airlines also said there needs to be a public communications campaign to inform non-EU citizens about the changes.

In addition, industry groups called on EU-LISA, the agency responsible for managing the system, to “strengthen communication” with airlines and with international partners such as the US “to ensure IT systems are connected and compatible.”

The decision to postpone the EES entry into operation until after the summer “will give airlines, airports and EU and national authorities the opportunity to resolve these issues and ensure the system is fully tested,” the statement continues.

The EU-LISA is currently preparing a revised timeline for the launch, which will be presented for approval at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, the meeting of responsible EU ministers, in March 2023.

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.

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