RDC Launches New German Overnight Service

Written by Kevin Smith, Editor-in-Chief, International Railway Journal
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Photo via: nachtexpress.de.

The German subsidiary of Railroad Development Corporation (RDC) has announced the launch of a new, twice-weekly international overnight train service between northern Germany, Bavaria and Austria.

The new Alpen-Sylt Night Express “linking the coast and the mountains” will comprise 10-11 vehicles, mostly couchette coaches from RDC’s 38-strong fleet. The train will operate on Thursday and Saturday nights from Westerland (Sylt) on the North Sea coast running via Hamburg and Frankfurt to Munich, and terminating in Salzburg, Austria. Northbound, the train will leave Salzburg on Friday and Sunday nights, offering an end-to-end journey time of between 16 and 19 hours.

Tickets are on sale and services will begin on July 4 and will operate until September 7.

RDC’s train operating subsidiary BahnTouristikExpress (BTE) will operate the service in conjunction with RDC Autozug Sylt. Until mid-March BTE was a key partner for Flixtrain in Germany although this partnership ended in mid-April.

BTE will use a class 251 diesel locomotive from RDC rolling stock company RDC Asset between Westerland (Sylt) and Hamburg and a Vectron MS electric locomotive leased from Railpool between Hamburg and Salzburg.

Motor rail

RDC is also operating its Hamburg – Lörrach overnight car-carrying service this summer. This train is aimed at people travelling to Switzerland or Italy, enabling passengers from northern Germany to save the long drive to the southern border. RDC offers sleeper accommodation on this service and since 2018 had handed over marketing and branding to Flixtrain.

RDC Germany managing director, Dr. Markus Hunkel, confirmed to IRJ that the company plans to operate more cross-border night trains in Europe with the focus on routes through Germany.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, RDC is pricing Alpen-Sylt Night Express by compartment starting at €399 with passengers able to share with family groups of up to five accompanying people for no extra charge.

While passengers are required to wear face masks if moving around the train, once in their own compartment there is no obligation to wear a mask. RDC says it will arrange thorough cleaning of the vehicles in between journeys. Bedding will be supplied while drinks, snacks and breakfast will be available for purchase.

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