The European Commission is going to ‘pull out all the stops’ to help new Dutch-Belgian rail operator European Sleeper start a nightly sleeper service between Amsterdam and Barcelona from 2025.
The commission is supporting 14 schemes for international rail connections to promote sustainable train travel over flying.
The commission is stopping short of subsidies but said it would do everything in its power to ‘help clear obstacles’, a spokesman told the Volkskrant. One such hurdle is the bureaucracy surrounding licensing new rail capacity in the countries involved. ‘We will advise on regulation and help find financing and available subsidies,’ he said.
European Sleeper founder Chris Engelsman, who said he was happy Brussels would help the company navigate ‘a jungle of bureaucracy’, said the lack of direct subsidies is not a problem for the plan funding.
Barcelona is among the most popular destinations with some 1.5 million Dutch tourists flying to the Catalan capital in the last year. The cheapest ticket for the sleeper will be some €110, about €30 more expensive than the cheapest one way flight.
European Sleeper will operate a night train service to Berlin from May.
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