European Commission to back Amsterdam – Barcelona night train connection

Brussels also supports new services from Catalonia to southern France planned by FGC operator

EU pilot services to boost cross-border rail
EU pilot services to boost cross-border rail / European Commission
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

February 1, 2023 04:31 PM

February 1, 2023 05:58 PM

The European Commission has announced it will back a night train connection between Amsterdam and Barcelona.

Put forward by the company European Sleeper, Brussels picked the project as part of an effort to "help rail companies create new international train connections – by day and by night – by breaking down the many barriers to cross-border rail."

In a decision made on Tuesday, the Commission pledged to work with ten projects in total, including new services between Catalonia and southern France planned by the Catalan government-owned operator FGC .

The Dutch company European Sleeper will launch its first nightly route between Berlin and Brussels on May 25, but the connection between the capitals of The Netherlands and Catalonia will not begin in the immediate future.

The EU Comission ranked this project 7th in order of planned starting date, while the FGC project is in 10th place.

Other pilot projects will connect Hungary, Austria and western Romania, the first in the ranking, and a night service between Paris, Milan and Venice, operated by Midnight Trains.

In a recent interview with Catalan News, Midnight Trains co-founder Romain Payet said that they also hope to launch an overnight Paris – Barcelona route in 2026 or 2027.

EU Commission to help projects 'address cross-border obstacles'

The EU Comission will not fund projects but assist them in other forms such as "address cross-border obstacles."

"Assistance could be provided, for example, in the form of coordination of stakeholders and assessment of compatibility with the legal framework. For selected pilot services, applicants can use the status of ‘pilot service’ for publicity and communication purposes."

Specifically, they commit to issues such as "facilitating coordination and contacts, helping clarifying compatibility with EU legislation, and helping identifying existing or upcoming support tools that could benefit the pilot service."

International high-speed trains from Catalonia, work in progress

The high-speed train network in Catalonia has strong connectivity with Madrid, but is weaker in the routes along the Mediterranean to the south, and to the north beyond the Pyrenees.

Have a listen to our recent podcast on high-speed rail and night trains.