Liesbet Vandebroek, who lives in Austria but works for the tourism authority of Belgium’s Flanders region, said it was important for her to make the frequent journey to Brussels with “as small a footprint as possible” but also waxed lyrical about the romance of the night train.
“As a student I travelled everywhere with the night train, it’s so leisurely… and very nostalgic,” said Vandebroek.
The Vienna to Brussels service will initially run on Sundays and Wednesdays.
The return leg will run on Mondays and Thursdays with a portion splitting off to serve Munich and Innsbruck.
In October OeBB said that bookings on its night trains were up 11 percent year-on-year.
With prices for non-sleeper seats as low as 19 euros ($21), it says its services are competitive with low-cost airlines — although sleeper berths can cost considerably more.
OeBB operates, either alone or in partnership, 27 night trains with another new service to Amsterdam scheduled to start in December.
At the end of 2016 OeBB bought the night trains of the state rail operator in neighbouring Germany, Deutsche Bahn, which Matthae admitted was seen as risky at the time.
Austria’s new Green Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler said that that decision had been vindicated and that the new route was in line with the Austrian government’s ambition to make the country carbon neutral by 2040.
“There is no other city in the European Union that has so many night trains departing from Vienna, and the network can be expanded further,” Gewessler said.
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