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Geopolitics

Europe's Night Train Nostalgia: Quiet Rebirth Of Sleeper Car Travel

A new Vienna-Brussels line has just opened, while in France only two night lines still exist, compared to a dozen ten years ago.

View from a 'Nightjet' train sleeper cab
View from a "Nightjet" train sleeper cab
Olivier Razemon

PARIS — We all have memories of the night train, some positive, others not so much. There's the snoring of other passengers, the wafting smells, the unexpected noises that interrupt sleep in the narrow berths. But there's also nostalgia for the characteristic rocking that is so synonymous with travel, adventure and new beginnings.

This mode of transport isn't entirely a thing of the past, however. Far from it. It remains the most efficient way to reach a distant destination without flying, and is an answer, in that sense, to flygskam, Swedish for "plane shame." The concept has spread across the European continent over the past two years, much to the chagrin of the airline industry.

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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