Aurélien Fleurot / Photo credit: Alex HALADA / AFP (Illustration) 14:33 p.m., December 10, 2023

The Paris-Berlin and Paris-Aurillac night train lines will be inaugurated this week. Disappeared 20 years ago, this means of transport has become fashionable again and the government plans to open a dozen lines by 2030. How can we explain its success?

Two new night train lines will be inaugurated in the coming hours: the Paris-Berlin on Tuesday evening and from Sunday evening, Paris-Aurillac. These famous night trains disappeared 20 years ago. Crushed by the advent of the TGV and then low-cost airlines, the night train had become undesirable, uncrowded and unprofitable.

150,000 passengers in 2022 for Paris-Nice

But since there is no choice but to decarbonise transport, sleeper trains seem to be back in fashion. The government plans to open a dozen lines by 2030. The return of the Paris-Nice, relaunched two years ago, is considered a success with 150,000 passengers in 2022.

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The existing routes will be reinforced with new destinations. The Pyrenean, which departs from the Gare d'Austerlitz in Paris to reach Cerbère, will now stop in Nîmes, Montpellier or Sète. But for the roll-out to move up a gear, "we would have to quickly invest in modern equipment", explains the collective "Yes to night trains" which deplores the fact that Austria, for example, is already inaugurating its brand new trains.

In the meantime, on the night of Monday to Tuesday, it's time for the Berlin-Paris route: it will initially run three times a week before becoming daily from October 2024.