August 3, 2021

Private cabins, restaurant, bar … a French start-up wants to reinvent night trains

Behind this project, the co-founder of KissKissBankBank, Adrien Aumont. With his night train company, he hopes to link Paris to European metropolises. The launch is scheduled for 2023.

The co-founder of the crowdfunding platform KissKissBankBank, Adrien Aumont, announced on Wednesday the launch at the end of 2023 of a new night train company called Midnight Trains, which wants to run “hotels on rails” between Paris and major European cities .

The company wants to link Paris to metropolises located 800 to 1,500 kilometers away, beyond the area of ​​relevance of high-speed trains. The map of its connections includes Porto, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Florence, Rome, Milan, Venice, Hamburg, Berlin, Copenhagen and Edinburgh.

“In December 2023 we will launch a first line with two trainsets and departures on each side every day,” said Adrien Aumont. The destination from Paris “could be in Spain or Italy”, in areas where the Austrian company ÖBB will not go, according to him.

The future night train network
The future night train network © Midnight Trains

If “the design is very advanced” for the development of its future trains, Midnight Trains is still looking for a supplier for the rolling stock, the idea being to rent it, new, if possible, to a specialized company.

Comfort, but not luxury

“The key point of our positioning is to only have private beds”, with rooms where passengers will not sleep with strangers, noted Adrien Aumont, who also promises “a good table” and “a good bar “on board.

Midnight Trains does not mean to be a luxury company, however, its prices must be “competitive with medium-haul flights” taking into account the “hidden costs” of the latter such as luggage, transfer to the airport and a possible hotel night, he noted.

A cabin
A cabin © Midnight Trains
Night trains will have bars
Night trains will have bars © Midnight Trains

The “first French railway start-up” is, according to Adrien Aumont, financed by “many French entrepreneurs (…) who are able to follow”, including the boss of Free Xavier Niel through his Kima Ventures fund, the co-founders of the Le Wagon code school and those of KissKissBankBank.

“We made a first round of table which allows to develop the project”, he noted, announcing “another round of table” when it will be necessary to obtain the rolling stock.

International night trains have deserted Parisian stations in recent years with the exception of the Paris-Milan-Venice of Thello (a subsidiary of the Italian public company Trenitalia) and the weekly Paris-Moscow of the Russian railways. These two links have been suspended due to Covid-19.

In partnership with the SNCF, the ÖBB are planning to relaunch the Paris-Vienna links from December 2021 and Paris-Berlin two years later, with modern but more classic night trains.

Pauline Dumonteil with AFP