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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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SAS

Crisis-stricken airline SAS records heavy losses

Troubled Scandinavian airline SAS, which has filed for bankruptcy in the United States, reported deeper losses in the fourth quarter on Wednesday.

Crisis-stricken airline SAS records heavy losses

Net losses amounted to more than 1.2 billion Swedish kronor ($117 million) in the August-October period, compared to a loss of 744 million kronor a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

“As with previous quarters in 2022, the currencies (foreign exchange) and jet-fuel price have brought strong headwinds for our business,” said SAS chief executive Anko van der Werff.

The airline, however, saw the “highest number” of passengers since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, with healthy demand in the summer, van der
Werff said.

The airline, which cut 5,000 jobs in 2020, is preparing for “substantial recruitments and rehirings” to meet the expected increase in demand next
summer, he added.

SAS filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States in July — a move allowing a company to restructure its debts under court
supervision.

Van der Werff said the airline expected to complete the court-supervised process during the second half of 2023.

Earlier this year, The airline posted a net loss of 1.84 billion kronor ($170 million) for the May-July period, compared to a loss of 1.33 billion kronor a year earlier.

Earnings were “severely affected” by the 15-day pilot strike between July 4th-19th, which led to the cancellation of some 4,000 flights affecting more than 380,000 passengers, the company said in a statement.

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