Across the world, trains are undergoing a massive renaissance, with a general increase in demand for high-speed services, luxury “land cruises” and long-distance day and night journeys. This trend surprised experts as the industry’s recovery exceeded expectations compared to 2019 levels.
What drove the railroad’s renaissance?
The growing urbanization process around the world has created an increasing demand for efficient travel within and between cities.
Many people are looking for fast, reliable and sustainable alternatives to motorway congestion or short-distance flights. Countries are investing billions of dollars in new infrastructure, marking the transition into the second half of the 21st century.
But trains are more than just a means of transportation, they have also become a destination in their own right for many travelers. The experience of traveling by train, from admiring the panoramic views of the Swiss Alps to soaking in the luxury of “hotels on track” like the Venetian Simplon-Orient-Express, has become unforgettable.
Here we look at some of the new rail proposals for 2024:
From Paris to Berlin:
Links between Europe’s two most visited capitals have historically been poor, but this is set to change with the introduction of direct night trains operated by ÖBB. The “Nightjet” service will initially operate three times weekly and will become daily in the fall of 2024, providing business and leisure travelers with high-quality non-stop service, with seats starting at $33 and cabins with bunk beds starting at $105.
Brand new Italian luxury trains:
AccorHotels launches the ultra-luxury train “Orient Express-Dolce Vita”. This 11-car train regularly travels across Italy from north to south, offering a unique experience in elegant “bar cars”, luxury cabins and full suites.
Travelers will enjoy five-star service and can sample Italian cuisine, local products and top wines. Prices start at US$2,000 per person, and international routes will be added in the future.
To demonstrate its status as a railway power, Italy will also donate high-speed rail to Pompeii.
Express train Freciarosa (Red Arrow) will now connect Rome and Pompeii on a two-hour journey, giving visitors eight hours to explore the city and return to Rome for dinner. The route operates every week, Sunday and selected holidays, providing easy access to this famous Roman city.
From Brussels to Prague by sleeper car:
The Belgian-Dutch partnership EuroSleeper will extend Brussels-Berlin services to Dresden and Prague in May 2024. The company offers sleeper cars, bunk beds and reclining seats to cater to travelers of all budgets. The hub in Brussels will facilitate travel to central European cities from the UK and France.
Quick trip to Paris from Madrid:
Cross-border rail services between Spain and France are expected to improve in 2024, with new high-speed routes between Madrid and Paris operated by Renfe and TrenItalia expanding travel and connectivity options in the region. Added to this are the development projects of France as a railway powerhouse.
Travel around the world in 80 days:
Railbookers offers train travel enthusiasts the ultimate experience with an 80-day itinerary featuring seven of the world’s most iconic trains. Priced at $119,599 per person, the trip spans four continents and 13 countries, providing a unique opportunity to explore the world by train.
Belmond’s Eastern & Oriental Express will return to orbit in 2024 after an absence of four years. Refurbished and carefully designed, the train will offer three “Best of Malaysia” journeys in February, November and December 2024, with fares starting from US$3,410 per person.
Next generation Nightjet:
Austria’s Nightjet night train, the catalyst for a renaissance in night travel, will expand its services in 2024 with improved routes and 33 new bespoke trains. These new options feature cutting-edge designs and include capsule mini-cabins, sleeping compartments and multi-purpose cabins with modern amenities.
Matterhorn VIP style:
Gornergrat Bahn’s unique “NostalChic” train travel experience offers you a nostalgic journey with stunning views of Switzerland’s Matterhorn. With just 22 passengers per week, the six-hour VIP experience includes a gourmet feast and photo opportunities and costs $365 per person.
The renaissance of rail shows that trains are not just transportation but destinations in their own right, offering travelers a unique and luxurious experience.