The European Sleeper, a Dutch-Belgian initiative behind upcoming night trains to Berlin and Prague, is also looking to operate a service to Barcelona, with stops planned in Antwerp and Brussels.
The train would depart from Amsterdam and stop in several Dutch cities and Belgium on the journey south to Spain, according to an application to the Dutch regulator Autoriteit Consument en Markt (ACM).
In the Netherlands, the train will stop at Amsterdam Centraal, Den Haag HS, Rotterdam Centraal and Roosendaal.
These plans come after a recent announcement that the company will run night trains to French ski resorts and the Mediterranean coast, in partnership with tour operator Sunweb.
“It is our intention to run a summer train with Sunweb next year and also to Barcelona, which is an extension,” Chris Engelsman, co-initiator of European Sleeper, told Belga News Agency.
Initially, the train will run three times a week, but this could be expanded to a daily service, depending on the availability of trains. The first days of travel have not yet been determined and will also depend customer demand, according to ACM.
The train could be operational as soon as next year or “much earlier if possible practically”. Engelsman was keen to push ahead, saying that “the sooner the rollout, the better.”
However, the company is already running behind its schedule to launch night trains from Brussels via Amsterdam to Berlin, Dresden and Prague. These were expected to start running this summer after already being postponed from spring 2022.
“To avoid disappointment, we are not giving a new start date for the time being,” the company said. 2024 therefore seems a more likely start date for the train to Barcelona.
Currently, just one night train is operating in Belgium, namely the NightJet of the Austrian railway company ÖBB runs between Brussels (via Liège and Germany) and Austrian capital Vienna three times a week.
However, Belgium wants to become a hub for night trains and has dedicated a budget for this purpose.