Never before have more Swiss people chosen to go on holiday by train, and 2023 is already shaping up to be a record year for overseas rail travel. This craze severely restricts available seats, especially on night trains, RTS has been able to observe.
Vincent Milliard dreamed of taking his entire family on a night train to Berlin. But even after making arrangements six months in advance, this Genevan could not book a compartment with four berths.
“There are very few carriages and very few seats. Although we got there relatively early, we could not find a way to access these concessions either at the ticket office or on the platform”, he testifies on Saturday 7:30 pm of RTS.
A few spots available this summer
Victims of the success of SBB night trains. Added additional convoys and new locations such as Amsterdam.
Lines to Rome and Barcelona may follow, but they won’t be enough to meet the high demand.
“Until the beginning of August there are no seats on the night trains, especially to the most popular destinations like Amsterdam, Hamburg and Berlin,” said SBB spokesperson Sabine Baumgartner.
Night train network from Switzerland (in red). Lines to Rome and Barcelona should be available soon. [RTS]
Daytime trains are also preferred
Last year, SBB recorded 500,000 night train journeys, a record, while 2023 promises to be even better.
The same is true for daytime trains: the DGV Liria, which provides connections between Switzerland and France, is often full. By 2022, these trains will carry 5 million passengers.
“Compared to 2019 and the pre-Covid period, we are growing. Already in 2022, we have returns from customers. This year, we have seen additional growth,” assures Fanny Dalmer, assistant to commercial director TGV Liria.
New trains are being developed to meet the demand. Austrian Railways, which operates night trains to Switzerland, bought 33 additional trains. Compared to air travel, rail is regaining market share.
>> Also see journalist Nicholas Ross’s commentary on this train rush:
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