There are many different approaches when it comes to tackling climate change through technology. Billionaire tech bros like Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos might want to relocate the entire human race to Mars. But then there are those who are a bit more pragmatic, turning to tried and tested designs from the past for inspiration. Blimps and taxis are already getting eco-friendly redesigns, and now it’s the sleeper train’s turn, thanks to French startup Midnight Trains.
The brainchild of Adrien Aumont and Romain Payet, the team behind French crowdfunding website KissKissBankBank, Midnight Trains is aiming to make the sleeper train cool again, by offering a sophisticated and luxurious experience aboard its fleet of ‘rolling boutique hotels’.
A far cry from the white-gloved waiters, tasselled chandeliers and prohibitively expensive prices of classic sleeper trains like the Orient Express, these overnight journeys will offer modern decor, a bar serving craft beers and natural wines, on-demand entertainment and concierge service via an app. Meanwhile, a range of cabin sizes will suit both couples and larger groups.
Centred around Paris’s Gare du Nord train station, routes will stretch as far as 800km in a star shape across Europe, encompassing major destinations such as Madrid, Lisbon, Porto, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Berlin, Hamburg, Copenhagen and even Edinburgh.
Compared with plane travel, it’s a no-brainer. As well as emitting twenty times less greenhouse gas per passenger than a commercial flight per kilometre travelled, these trains will let you relax in comfort, eat a properly nice meal in a restaurant and arrive at your destination fresh as a daisy after an actually decent night’s sleep and a morning shower. Way better than a microwaved dinner and restless couple of hours’ kip on a red-eye economy flight.
With details such as ticket prices and departure schedules still to iron out, the trains aren’t scheduled to start running until 2024. But we’re ready to hop on the first Midnight Train going (almost) anywhere.
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