A third giant is eyeing up the destiny of Midnight Trains: a well-established growth fund. With the financial resources it can deploy, Adrien, Romain and Nicolas could finally achieve their ultimate goal. They could close the financing of their entrepreneurial venture.
For Adrien, Romain and Nicolas, the year 2023 begins with anticipation, as they receive a strange Christmas gift. Two huge groups, on a global scale, are interested in the future of Midnight Trains.
After taking the time to adapt the project to their new financing scenario, Adrien, Romain and Nicolas set out in search of an infrastructure fund again. Accompanied by their investment bank, they go again before joining their families for the end-of-year holidays.
From the manufacturer in Eastern Europe and the ROSCO which has to buy the trains, to SNCF Réseaux, which reserves train paths for us, our partners are getting tired of waiting. As well as Adrien, Romain and Nicolas’ families, their future teams and, of course, you, our community of readers.
Despite a new financing scenario involving an infrastructure fund, Adrien, Romain and Nicolas must embark on a final roadshow. But for this, they have to be supported by a specialised investment bank.
After finding a ROSCO to finance their trains, Adrien, Romain and Nicolas think they’ve crossed the biggest hurdle. It’s time to tackle the fundraising so they can finance the operational side of the business.
Now that there are only two ROSCOs left in the running, both their engineers are heading to our manufacturer's factory in Eastern Europe. This results in an incredible balancing act for Adrien, Romain and Nicolas, as well as for the teams onsite. But at the end of this, only one will remain.
Adrien, Romain and Nicolas have now opted for a financing plan involving a ROSCO, a company which rents locomotives and carriages. They embark on a major tour of the market to choose which one to collaborate with.
This time, it’s the conclusion of the longest season in the history of Confidences. For the occasion, Nicolas, Adrien and Romain take stock of each problem/solution combination discussed in the preceding twelve episodes.
Now that they have a maintenance facility available, Romain, Adrien and Romain must resolve the last rolling stock issues. Both in terms of locomotives and cars.
For his final assessment, Nicolas looks at some big questions: should Midnight Trains become a railway company and haul its own trains? Or should it get a subcontractor to handle the traction? Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages.
Now that Nicolas has taken stock of the network, locomotives, carriages and maintenance, it’s time to tackle a big step: the relations with infrastructure managers, companies or public groups that manage the rails.
Choosing carriages and the locomotives to tow them is not easy. But choices can’t be made without knowing where and how to maintain the rolling stock. Except that, clearly, there’s nothing easy about finding a service provider, deciding to do it yourself, or even choosing where the maintenance will take place.
After identifying the constraints of passenger carriages, Nicolas looks at those related to locomotives. Because, as its results on the network suggested, it will be impossible to use a single traction vehicle. At least initially.
After taking stock of the network constraints, Nicolas examines the questions of rolling stock: coaches, then locomotives. Again, we wade into Kafkaesque difficulties. Nicolas, Romain and Adrien will have to find a path to achieve their objectives.
Now that Nicolas is aboard the same boat - well, the same train - as Adrien and Romain, he must deal with a subject that’s as important as it is huge: the future Midnight Trains network. His expertise will profoundly change the route map and the company's development strategy.
When he joined Midnight Trains as its first full-time employee, Nicolas had already helped Adrien and Romain progress with many issues. However, he has to take stock of the state of the various projects in order to be able to draw up a roadmap. It’s an opportunity for us to do the same.
Romain and Adrien have put together a great team, bringing together different areas of expertise to create their digital product. Its members are embarking on the creation of this pillar of Midnight Trains' strategy, by taking the best from the worlds of the hotel and rail sectors.
Now that Romain and Adrien have identified the different components they need for the tech side of their product, they decide to call on specialists in the field. And these will enable a great leap forward on this extremely technical subject.
If you've ever tried to buy a night train ticket on a platform that usually sells day trains, you know it's pure hell. And it's the same when you're buying from the actual merchant.
This time, it's official: Nicolas Bargelès is a full-time part of the Midnight Trains adventure. But his immense expertise in the railway world raises new and fundamental questions for Adrien and Romain.
While Romain and Adrien await Nicolas' response, they reflect on the difficulty they had in finding a profile like his. They describe his journey and passion for rail travel.
While Romain and Adrien have already enlisted the services of several partners and consultants who are specialists in their field, they’re now forging ahead with their first hire. And it’s a big one.
Adrien and Romain now have business partners to help them create the catering service they want for their trains. But they will discover that delivering high-quality catering en masse, especially with good-quality products, is more complicated than it seems.
Adrien and Romain now know the direction they want for the catering on their trains. But in order to feed all those beautiful people, they need someone with an extraordinary background. But, as it happens, they have an idea in mind.
For Adrien and Romain, food was an essential component of Midnight Trains. Now they needed to work out what their future passengers could eat and drink on board their trains.
Now Adrien and Romain had decided to launch the brand publicly, well before the actual Midnight Trains were on the market, they had to work on a communications plan. And it turned out, this would provoke a flurry of interest throughout the French and international press.
When they created the Midnight Trains brand, Adrien and Romain knew that they wouldn’t be able to launch any sleeper trains for a good few years. So a crucial question: should they make themselves known to the wider public? Or remain in the shadows until the trains are ready to go?
While they were researching how to buy and lay out their trains, Adrien and Romain went about creating the Midnight Trains brand. To do this, they recruited Yorgo Tloupas, one of Europe’s greatest artistic directors. It was a meeting of minds that was all the more important for our brand’s identity because Yorgo is passionate about all things transport and mobility.
Romain and Adrien had finally found the trains they were searching for. But now, they had to come up with the layouts, technical specifics and interior design with the help of Yellow Window, Luigi Martinelli and the manufacturer. Starting from a blank slate didn’t make things any simpler.
Now they’d abandoned the option of buying second-hand rolling stock, Romain and Adrien started looking for brand-new trains. But because they were a private company, and one that was so new to the market, this would prove no simple task.
While they were attempting to redesign second-hand Spanish trains remotely, Adrien and Romain explored other avenues for second-hand rolling stock. These would lead them, virtually, from Belgium to Russia and the living room of a rather famous French actress.
At the same time they were carrying out their analyses and raising funds, Romain and Adrien were looking to purchase rolling stock. Some second-hand Spanish trains had caught their eye, but this would involve redesigning them. No simple task.
While the first fundraising round for Midnight Trains was launched in a rather unexpected way, loads of potential investors soon got in touch with Adrien and Romain.
Adrien and Romain had found the perfect consultants to help them refine their projected costs and revenue. So it was time to move onto the next stage: fundraising. It would prove quite the challenge.
Adrien and Romain now had a pretty precise idea of costs and future revenue for Midnight Trains. Their next task was to recruit a team of specialist railway consultants. The only problem? This industry doesn’t really work like any other.
Now Romain and Adrien had cross-referenced their advice from experts with their analysis of the railway-sector economics, they had to come up with their company’s potential revenue. To do this, they looked at both the sleeper-train market and the aviation industry.
While Adrien set up meetings with railway experts, Romain started exploring the economics of the industry. His main aim? To try and make it fit Midnight Trains’ unique economic model.
During lockdown, Adrien and Romain started to immerse themselves in the industry. The only problem? Most experts in the sector tell them that setting up a business like Midnight trains is impossible. But it would take a lot more than that to stop them.
Like the rest of humanity, Adrien and Romain were locked down for months. As well as putting together the Midnight Trains board, they consulted experts across the sector. Except that at that time, European train services were shutting down one after the other.
The more they worked on the project, Romain started to believe in the future of Midnight Trains and having no doubt that he and Adrien were a good team, he became his business partner in the venture. Together they started to move in railway circles in an effort to form a board.
Adrien is now sure of himself: he’s going to launch a night-train company that meets travellers’ needs – right now and in the future. His first idea was to take inspiration from what was done in the aviation sector. Wrongly.