I’ve been taking it for years – the DB / City Night Line train from Brussels to Berlin / Hamburg but from the December timetable change the line no longer exists (see the routes PDF here). The train starts in Paris and will take a new route completely by-passing Belgium and stopping in Metz and Saarbrücken instead. There’s no news of why the change has been made, and the SNCB website does not even mention that the train will cease to exist. As the day train takes a good 7 hours to get to Berlin I will have no sensible option but to fly intead… So damned annoying. And why have they done this? DB is expanding its night train offerings, so I suspect the problem must be something to do with SNCB.


  1. Laszlo

    There was a question to the concerning belgian minister in the “chambre” in January 2009.


    Steven Vanackere, ministre: Madame, il est important de
    savoir que le train de nuit Paris-Bruxelles-Berlin a été mis en service
    pour le compte de la Deutsche Bahn. La SNCB livrait des prestations
    de transport en sous-traitance pour la Deutsche Bahn. Les conditions
    relatives au contrat établi entre les deux entreprises de transport sont
    Dans le cadre d’une réorganisation et d’une rationalisation, la
    Deutsche Bahn voulait coupler ce train, pour une partie du trajet, au
    train de nuit Paris-Munich. Ce couplement a lieu à Mannheim. C’est
    dans le cadre de cette rationalisation que la Deutsche Bahn a décidé
    de ne plus desservir la Belgique.
    En ce qui concerne la redevance pour l’utilisation de l’infrastructure,
    Infrabel applique scrupuleusement les mêmes tarifs à toutes les
    entreprises ferroviaires qui circulent sur le réseau, qu’elles soient
    belges ou étrangères. Les formules utilisées par Infrabel pour calculer
    les redevances d’utilisation de l’infrastructure sont reprises dans le
    document de référence du réseau qui peut être consulté sur le site
    web http://www.railaccess.be.

  2. @Cyrus – no idea about that one… I suspect it’s due to something with DB taking over CityNightLine from the Swiss firm that was running it. See this PDF for all the CityNightLine routes – you might take a regular train to Brig and then the night train to Amsterdam?

  3. Milano – Amsterdam has also disappeared without a trace. As the day train is upwards of 12 hours, this puts the route back into the realm of the airlines. Truly sad. I can’t seem to find any information online for the reasons for the change, so any pointers would be appreciated. Cheers!

  4. George

    @ Jon:

    I’ve tried to post the links here, but they are not displayed. When I retried later, I got an alert that a duplicate comment was found. Maybe you could look into it? Thanks!

  5. 1 Jan 2010 is the date for liberalisation of passenger rail journeys, so then another operator could (theoretically) operate on Belgian tracks and run the night trains that have been done away with.

    Anyone out there ready to setup an open access European night train operator?

  6. Is there no European Commission directive regulating these issues? Can’t we go to the Court?

    There is a monopoly at work, preventing good EU citizens from travelling at night… there must be some means to change the situation (and please, don’t mention “public services”!)!!

  7. Yes, very sad indeed.

    We had the same experience with the Euronight train Brussels-Vienna a few years ago. Now you have to go to Cologne to take that train which makes you pay a higher fee for Brussels-cologne than Cologne-Vienna.

    I can confirm that there were rumours that the problem is with the SNCB/NMBS as they don’t agree to “global price” scheme used in DE,AT,CH and other countries. But I don’t know the details.

  8. Thanks for the clarification – any chance you can post some links to those discussions?

    How about a small letter writing campaign of some sort to push SNCB?

  9. George

    According to some web forums, it has to do with increased charges by SNCB for use of tracks and infrastructure. I haven’t seen any official statement or confirmation though. Indeed very annoying, for passengers from both Brussels and London. Departure time from Paris also worse than before.

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