hidden europe 56

Central Europe by Night

by hidden europe

Picture above: Berlin's Charlottenburg station will add a new departure in December 2018: the Metropol night train to Vienna and beyond (photo © Gestur Gislason / dreamstime.com).


New rail timetables kick in across Europe on 9 December 2018. There are new direct daytime links from Bratislava to Innsbruck and Zürich, and from the Austria city of Linz to both Halle and Berlin. But the showpiece innovation is a new direct night train from Berlin to Vienna.

Charlottenburg railway station in Berlin was once a place for grand departures. In the Weimar Republic years, the departure boards at Charlottenburg invited adventurous Berliners to board trains bound for Königsberg, Vienna, Budapest and Petrograd.

In recent years, however, the most exotic departure from Charlottenburg has been the occasional train to Cottbus via Eisenhüttenstadt. Four times each day, red regional trains leave Charlottenburg for this rural ramble through the forests of eastern Brandenburg, taking just under three hours to reach their destination.

That changes at 18.22 on 9 December, when a new train (called the Metropol) leaves Charlottenburg, pulling a multi-coloured rake of carriages bound for distant lands. This will be the first international train from Charlottenburg for many years. And what a train! The Metropol will carry through sleeping cars to three different European capitals: Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.

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