Posted 23rd June 2021 | 8 Comments

Edinburgh could be served by new Paris sleepers

PLANS have been unveiled for a new set of sleeper services in western Europe, potentially including night trains between Edinburgh and Paris.

Open access operator Midnight Trains is highlighting increasing public interest in greener forms of travel, and intends to compete with short-haul flights.

As well as Edinburgh, its trains could run between Paris and 11 other destinations on the continent including Rome, Copenhagen and Berlin.

The service will be familiar to passengers on Caledonian Sleeper, because it will offer ‘hotel-style’ rooms rather than the traditional cabins.

Trains could start running in 2024, although it is not clear how the more restrictive British loading gauge will be allowed for. Midnight would either need a special fleet for its services to Scotland, or build all its trains to the smaller gauge.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Gregory Tingey, London

    The Border Farce people & Patel's tame xenophobes will kill this one.
    More's the pity

  • Michael Breslin, White

    My concern lies with the possibility that UK Border Force will insist that passengers are detrained at St Pancras, in both directions, for passport and security checks.

  • Andrew Gwilt, Benfleet Essex

    The main problem is that will it stop at London St. Pancras International and to use the Midland Main Line up to Sheffield then use the existing lines to continue its journey to Edinburgh Waverley via Manchester Piccadilly/Manchester Victoria and the West Coast Main Line or go via Leeds and York and the East Coast Main Line northwards.

  • david c smith, Bletchley

    One problem for overnight train srvice in GB will probably be the poor Utilsation factors that result from relatively short routes, taking between 6 and 10 hours (approximately) only out of each 24.

    For British conditions, it might be an idea to develop rolling stock that can have daytime and overnight configurations , to allow it to have potential 24 hour availability.

  • John Porter, Leeds

    Channel tunnel regulations require unusually long rolling stock to guarantee that part will be adjacent to an emergency evacuation cross tunnel - or in a controlled stop, access to one cross tunnel from the front and another from the rear carriage.

    That long train requirement makes it difficult to fill trains - a problem which can be lessened by operating a mix of day and night stock. That seems feasible for Edinburgh to Paris journeys as 5 hours is needed on ECML (or WCML) & 2 hours London to Paris via High Speed lines. That implies plenty of dead time to
    # continue to Glasgow or
    # split/join at Lille (for Frankfurt) or
    # run a day and a night service - with about half the coaches identical to HS2 classic Compatible stock and half the same shell fitted out as sleepers.

    The mechanical and external design is about to be funded by HS2, who would be able to reuse the day stock in HS2 Phase 2 if the trial is unsuccessful, reducing rolling stock financing risks.


    I've seen this story reported on several news sites now, some in considerably more detail than this, but out of all only Railnews has spotted the potential gauge issue! I assume it is possible to run a single modified train suitable for both continental and British track gauge, kind of like the "classic compatible" sets that are supposed to be running from HS2 to Sheffield and Scotland via traditional lines. But whether the company will want to go to all the bother just to serve Edinburgh, when they could concentrate on places inside the EU that don't pose any border issues or tunnel regulations, remains to be seen!

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    I have travelled on Sleepers all across Europe including the Euston - Glasgow one. Not the best way to get a good nights sleep. I doubt if it will get as bad as the German/Czech crossing just after the Iron Curtain came down when armed Police woke us, shining torches in our faces and threatening dire punishments. I prefer to actually sleep in my seat - and did so from Edinburgh to Wolverhampton many years ago. There are just too many points, uneven track and signal checks to wake you just as you drop off.

  • Philip Russell , Carlisle

    If such services are perhaps commercially viable now, it seems crazy that at least some of the original Regional Eurostar / Nightstar routes weren’t launched over 20 years ago, when purpose built could have been completed.& available.for use