It’s a rather unusual case, as the country was for a long time very behind when it came to the development of the railways, and would soon go through an extended period of political instability, what with the Spanish civil war and Francisco Franco’s dictatorship.
With its rich history and thriving contemporary culture scene, the Hungarian capital brims with treasures that many are still yet to explore.
We’re launching a new series on the great nationalisations in European rail, starting with the one that took place in Italy between 1903 and 1915.
Whack on some sun cream (yep, you never know) and a pair of comfortable shoes – we’re heading to the north of France.
It’s the end of the nineteenth century, the Industrial Révolution is well under way in France, and iron is the manufacturing material du jour.
Although a trip up the Eiffel Tower takes you in a perpendicular direction to that of a train, climbing up the iconic monument really does, somehow and in a way that’s rather hard to articulate, evoke the sensations, emotions and general atmosphere of the railways.
Following a climate catastrophe, a new ice age has made the entirety of the planet uninhabitable. Only a handful of survivors remain, and they’re all on board a train that never stops moving.
Rather than continue to reel off the environmental benefits of the train, this week we’re going to focus purely on the stats, totting up the real carbon footprint of trains in France. Here goes.
Known as being the setting of Shakespeare’s famous play Romeo and Juliet, and also ‘the city where everyone hates each other’ in the musical comedy of the same name.
So let’s go, and explore a world where the criminal underworld and the rail industry intertwine.
The opening up of passenger transport stems from the EU’s adoption of its fourth major package of rail reforms in 2016. This essentially divided the sector into two main categories.
Having introduced you to ‘La Bestia’, the so-called ‘death train’ Central American immigrants use to cross Mexico, Midnight Weekly is returning to those parts this week to tell you about the Tren Maya.
The tiny Maltese capital, just south of Sicily, only has 6,000 inhabitants. It’s much smaller than Sarajevo, Manchester or even Cádiz, but just as worth visiting if you’re after a sunny weekend break.
The idea of opening up passenger rail transport in Europe isn’t a new one. The first discussions between the member states of the European Union in fact took place in the 1970s.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s an Aérotrain. That’s how the credits for a Netflix series about this far-fetched invention would start.
From Manchester to Cádiz, Warsaw to Dubrovnik, each week Midnight Weekly takes you on a tour of a major European city. And today we’re heading to Leipzig.
Because while trains may usually be considered a means to get humans from one place to another, they are clearly also a way of conveying goods too. So let’s climb aboard and slot ourselves in besides the factory products and girders.
Day is dawning in the small town of Arriaga, in the state of Chiapas. Suddenly, the train sets off. In an instant, men, women and children emerge from the shadows and grasp onto the sides of the train.
Though its name may be associated with war and violence, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina has undergone a remarkable renaissance.
The most significant moments in the privatisation of the railways. In this first episode, we’ll be taking a look at British Rail, first created thanks to the nationalisation of four big private railway firms.
Seventeen years earlier, Japan in fact launched the first high-speed train in the world: the Shinkansen. Still in service today, the trains are known for their punctuality, safety and comfort – all qualities that often come at a high price.
Famous for its football clubs and industrial history, today it has transformed into a modern and brilliantly alternative metropolis overflowing with creative energy. Here’s how to do the city right.
Deutsche Bahn’s City Night Line. Adored by passengers across Germany and its neighbouring countries, these sleepers ran for two decades across Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark, France, the Czech Republic and Italy.
In 2012, it told a Californian newspaper how he intended to launch a mode of transport travelling at more than 1,000 km/hour thanks to capsules propelled in a vacuum tunnel.
Like its many equivalents in other Spanish cities, here you’ll find the scents and flavours of Spain in all their sumptuous abundance, from spices to cheese, charcuterie and fruit.
Running between Paris, Milan and Venice, the operator Thello allowed people to travel from Italy’s fashion capital to La Serenissima without having to pass through airport security and baggage checks (and with a far lower carbon footprint too).
They can shorten distances, all while reminding you of their immensity. The writer Blaise Cendrars summed up this sentiment with a line of great simplicity.
The capital of Poland is a cultural jewel, offering all manner of exciting, enriching experiences. So let’s get out and explore the labyrinthine alleyways of this historic city.
These trains essentially aimed to be trains and hotels at the same time. In other words, they would allow passengers to spend the night in a well laid out, comfortable train, with excellent on-board service.
Since the end of the 1940s, it’s been said that faced with the arrival of the Red Army in the region, Nazi higher-ups had packed a proper fortune into a packed train that they hid in a network of military tunnels.
A huge inspiration for the settlement of King’s Landing in the series Game of Thrones, the Croatian city ranks among Europe’s most beautiful cities.
Perched on the banks of the Guadalquivir, hundreds of kilometres south of Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid, the Andalusian capital is renowned for its unique beauty, slow pace of life and, above all else, spectacular local cuisine.
For this fourth episode, we’ll be focusing on this project that aims to create a new night-train network linking several northern and central European countries, by joining up several existing services.
Far from being a worldly socialite like his Belgian counterpart, Pullman came from a very working-class background. Throughout his life, he strived to observe, analyse and question existing structures and grabbed all opportunities that presented themselves to him – sometimes even going beyond the limits of the acceptable.
Like Midnight Trains, but with ideas very different to our ‘hotels on rails’, this business is among those that set out to conquer the railways since they were privatised here in France. In this third part, we’ll be focusing on Speed’s plans for super-regular high-speed services between Paris and the surrounding region.
If there’s one main reason that we’ve spoken about it so regularly, it’s no doubt that the train’s creator, Georges Nagelmackers, had very similar intentions to us here at Midnight Trains: he sought to make the sleeper-train journey an actually pleasant experience, filled with modern comforts.
Less renowned than Berlin and Hamburg, this city on the River Main turns out to be a properly tranquil place to spend a long weekend. Europe’s third financial capital – after London and Paris – is also a place of simple pleasures, refinement and a whole of culture.
In this second episode, we’ll be singing the praises of a business that aims to bring high-speed travel to the most poorly connected of France’s regions.
We like to think that many of the great challenges humanity has tried to overcome are born of a thirst for discovery and adventure. However, often they may be motivated by something else entirely: the exploitation of resources.
After three seasons in which roamed the corridors of a business like Midnight Trains, we’re launching a new four-part article series introducing you to the big new actors in the European rail industry.
People often talk of life as a series of chance encounters, defined largely by luck, but it could also be seen as a sequence of accidents. Small ones that graze knees and cut fingers; big ones that break your heart; monumental ones that hit the frontpages.
Just half an hour from Biarritz and around 100km from Bilbao, this Basque city is one of Europe’s best destinations for a sunny weekend away. So get out your espadrilles, swimming costumes and straw hats – we’re heading off to the banks of the Cantabrian Sea.
If you’ve already started planning a holiday this summer, you’ll have noticed that the cost of flights has increased dramatically – and that is likely because fuel prices have been rising for several months now.
A small girl with hair swept over her eyes, a large man with a black hat, a young woman in a white dress on the side of the road: we can all name a ghostly presence that’s terrified us since childhood.
Less touristy than all the others, this city will win over anyone who likes street food and laidback seaside vibes. So forget the guidebooks, here are the best things to do in the city according to us.
Some ghosts have a thick skin. That’s certainly the case of the Orient-Express, the mythical train that linked Paris with Istanbul via several major European cities including Venice, Vienna, Belgrade and Budapest.
This idea captivated the British leaders. At the time, the aim was clear: connecting the two major British isles would cement the links between the islands’ citizens.
Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland and the home of Guinness, that super-famous dry stout Irish people around the world can’t get enough of.
Just a few years ago, the international press was raving about the ‘Erasmus generation’. These international students, often very privileged, wouldn’t have been able to sate their desire to explore the wider world without one incredibly useful tool: Ryanair.
It’s the story of Alancienne, a truly incredible marketplace whose products never cease to amaze. But Alancienne isn’t a physical market, per se, it’s a website that allows you to stock up on the very best local (and sustainable) foods.
Rarely has a place been so deserving of its nickname. Between France, Italy and Sardinia, Corsica is a gorgeous throwback to times gone by. Almost half of this 8,722-square-kilometre island is classed as a national park.
As it happens, an underwater tunnel will link La Ciotat with the city of Ajaccio in Corsica in two hours and 15 minutes (over a total of 326km).
We want to draw your attention to two myths, which may seem banal but are often advanced in favour of the aviation industry not being ‘that’ polluting. Those anti-fake news crusaders over at the Réseau Action Climat have in fact explored the issue.
La Laiterie de Paris isn’t any old fromagerie: when its first outlet opened in Marcadet-Poissonniers, it was in fact the first time anyone had started making cheese in the heart of a major French city.
Few European cities feel like they’re in such perfect harmony with the water around them. You couldn’t visit Amsterdam without traversing the canals of the city centre. They’re literally unavoidable, and also an integral part of the tourist experience in the Dutch capital.
Marseille, September 1938. At the time, France’s second city didn’t have a good rep. Local mobsters ruled the roost, conducting large-scale looting all over the place.
The designer duo Patricia Bastard and Julien d’Hoker from Yellow Window, the firm that’s helping us design and lay out our trains, are lifting the veil on how they aim to ensure you have a fun, comfortable experience on board Midnight Trains.
What if heads of state gave up the good old government airplane? If there’s one person who doesn’t need convincing, it’s Elizabeth II. For she’s always had the British Royal Train at her disposal.
Liverpool, a former working-class city which has weathered economic crisis after crisis to become a thriving cultural hub, is now one of the UK’s best tourist destinations. Let’s explore a bit.
Since 2016, Refugee Food has aimed to change public perception of refugees, facilitating their integration in the restaurant industry, while also fighting for a fair, sustainable, diversified food production chain.
For several years now, several of the world’s most influential entrepreneurs have had their sights set on space travel. The likes of Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are sure of it: they’re going to make interplanetary tourism a thing – and make a huge success of it, too.
Valencia. Pairing a rich cultural history and with a contemporary thirst for the avant-garde, this city’s calles and callejones are ripe for a wander. So let’s go!
Madrid’s metro, for what it’s worth, is the seventh-biggest in the world with its 294 km of tracks, making it all the more ripe for imaginative storytelling.
Whether you bag a table or take your food away to the beach, their dishes are perfect for sharing and nibbling on – think wontons, bibimbap and spring onion pancakes, the latter brilliantly elevated by a generous helping of those sumptuous legumes. And now you’re in luck, as Thi-Hieu Nguyen has shared with us the recipe for that very dish. Enjoy!
This city is known as Bologna la Rossa (Bologna the Red). It owes the nickname both to the bricks and tiles of its buildings and to its leftist politics. To get a feel for the place, you should first head to the Piazza Maggiore.
Chef Harry Cummins has shared this recipe for a gâteau de voyage that’s perfect for your next railway trip.
European rail firms have mobilised to help evacuate civilians and victims of the war, carrying them off to lands untouched by the ravages of bombs and bullets. To tell you all about it, we decided to hand over the mic to Nick Brooks, the secretary-general of ALLRail.
In a railway sector where responsibilities are fragmented, manufacturers legion and with a growing need for interoperability, what manufacturing rules must trains respect and how can you ensure they are compatible with the existing infrastructure?
In this seasonal dish, the cabbage pairs marvellously with the caraway seeds (a local alternative to cumin), while the reblochon makes a punchy addition, too. Watch out: this dish is highly, highly moreish.
Another Belgian city that’s attracted exceptional craftspeople, architects, writers and painters over the years. Antwerp is one of those places where you can’t help but feel inspired as you wander its beautiful, historic streets.
Poetry’s intimate relationship with the railways in fact goes back nearly two centuries, trains acting as muses to the world’s writers.
Having told you about the huge regulatory changes that have taken place in the rail industry over the past decades, now we’ll be tackling the specifics of the trains themselves.
The Florence of the Elbe. That’s the rather flattering nickname given to this city, so ravaged by human folly throughout its history. First it was largely destroyed by a fire in 1685, before being rebuilt for the first time and receiving its distinctive baroque look.
Have you ever passed through the Gare de l’Est in Paris? If you happened to be standing on either platform three or four, you may well have walked over a bunker built more than 80 years ago. Building a shelter beneath Quite the idea, hey?
In the kitchen of the Buvette de l’Académie du Climat, you’ll find a crack team of chefs who’ve been working in sustainable food and restaurants for a long time now.
Since European railway space was created, there’s no need to be a historic operator to run rail services on the Continent. But what authorisations do you have to obtain first?
Mathilde and Audrey have now shared the recipe for their grapefruit-pistachio tart, given this is prime citrus season. Bon appétit!
When people mention Pisa, you probably immediately think of the famous leaning tower. But we reckon you should kick off your trip by meandering along Via Santa Maria, the city’s main street...
In the 1830s, the heads of state of the various territories that made up the Italian peninsula started to show interest in the promise offered by the railways.
This season aims to help you better understand railway regulation in Europe, and thus everything Midnight Trains is having to reckon with before we can welcome you on board our trains from early 2024. So in the rail sector, does the exception prove the rule?
Say you’re off to the city for a week or so sometime soon, there are loads of amazing exhibitions you should check out. Two of them will take you on a trip back in time.
One of the best chefs in France. And that’s official: in 2021, Daniel Morgan was named the best chef of the year by the prestigious Le Fooding guide.
This near-mythical train has been running since 1994, allowing millions of people to cross the Channel and embrace their European heritage. But inevitably, the lethal combination of the pandemic and Brexit has caused the rail service great trouble.
Nicolas Bargelès has joined us as director of railway operations after a glittering career that’s taken him from the Réseau Ferré de France to Thello to Eurostar. Throughout, his aim has always been to promote the train as a means of travel.
Let’s zoom in on Spain. According to myth, the Spanish wanted to set themselves apart from the rest of Europe for one main reason: Napoleon.
That means welcome to Bilbao, in one of the four official languages of Spain. Yes, this week, we’ll be heading off to the Basque capital. Bilbao has had something of a new lease of life in recent decades, without ever losing its authenticity.
Chef Bertrand Grébaut shares a new recipe, this time from Septime, la Cave, Clamato, D'une Île, a true cooking bible that would probably keep you going for years. Here it is: chicory braised in savagnin.
Corinne Menegaux, the director-general of the Office du Tourisme et des Congrès de Paris explains how Paris is trying to set an example as a sustainable tourism destination. A lot is at stake for the City of Light, one of the world’s most-visited cities.
When we say Munich, many of you will probably immediately think of Oktoberfest, that annual knees-up during which beer, sausages and other German indulgences help create the ultimate – for want of a better word – sesh. But there’s so much more to this city than that notorious festival.
Anyone who’s visited Paris no doubt will have admired the building, if not been inside to take in all the majestic art inside. Right in the heart of the French capital, overlooking the Seine, stands the Musée d’Orsay, just over the river from the extraordinary Tuileries Gardens.
Les Amarres is a one-of-a-kind space that’s just opened near the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris. The latest opening from the team behind Yes We Camp – to whom Paris owes the success of Grands Voisins, notably – it is a collaboration with the charity Aurore, which specialises in the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of difficulty for the flight sector, climate change poses an even greater (and more enduring) challenge. In this report, the researchers explored various paths the industry can follow to survive in the long term, based on findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Torino is a much less touristy city, with just as much impressive history, architecture – and food. Turin, which was the first capital of a united Italy, is the jewel of the Piedmont region. Here’s where you go when you get there.
Francesca Riccò recently decided to leave the city and set up a base over the border in Nice. You’re now able to sample her masterful cuisine at Babel Babel.
Seven. It’s a magic number that’s no doubt cropped up in innumerable stories since we were kids, and so it’s perhaps not by chance that it’s also the number of stations from which it is possible to leave Paris for further afield.
Julien and Patricia are both sold on the dream-like suspension of time that goes hand in hand with the sleeper-train experience – a far cry from the hectic, speed-at-all-costs approach that applies to most other forms of rail travel.
‘The Midnight Trains logo is simple and evocative, as a matter of principle and by necessity. Four lines converge to form an M for midnight, combined with a typography created exclusively for the brand, with its G resembling a train station clock and simple, stable, timeless lettering. Fitting in with our goal of reinventing the night train, our logo is neither nostalgic nor tied to any passing trends.
σπεῦδε βραδέως. Make haste slowly. This Greek (and later Roman) adage really suits the world of railways. This saying played some role inspiring those who invented the first-ever railway – or rather a very significant ancestor of it. Let’s travel 2,600 years back in time to the Mediterranean coast.
Yorgaki, the first and only Greek café in Paris, on the Rue des Martyrs. When you go there, you’ll immediately feel like you’re on holiday, far removed from the bustle of the city around you. Here you can sip a classic Greek coffee, paired with a creamy galaktoboúreko: the perfect way to whisk you off to the Aegean.
No doubt several of you have taken a boat heading for the Cyclades, without stopping at the historic capital that looks out over them. Athens is a vibrant city, infused with a distinctive Mediterranean art de vivre.
Albane Godard is the director-general of the Fondation GoodPlanet, created by photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. The mission of this foundation is to raise awareness of ecology and the environment, and Albane Godard without a doubt is the person to do just that.
Because as impetuous and volcanic as Naples is, the sea no doubt helps the southern Italian city find its sense of balance. So, without further ado, let’s explore. There’s not one Naples, but multiple – perhaps that’s why there’s an s at the end.
In 1936, around 60 years after it was first written by Verne, another artist started dreaming of another 80-day world tour. The geopolitical situation in Europe was as delicate as ever, and Jean Cocteau wanted to live a little. He wanted to see the world.
This hangover remedy comes courtesy of Ai Loan Dupuis and Hakim El Bour, the founders of Sezono, a Parisian establishment who’d already offered up their recipe for an oyster-mushroom kebab in a previous edition of this newsletter.
The bakery in question is Nice’s Zielinska. Its founder, Dominika Zielinska, has been serving up delicious baked goods for two years now, and it was recently honoured by the Guide du Fooding. But you won’t find any baguettes or croissants here. Instead, everything is made using ancient grains and has a lengthy fermentation process.