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.
As at the end of every season, we reflect on when various new technologies will see the light of day. It’s our approach to future gazing, with some bad faith thrown in.
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.
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.
Unlike flying cars, which we looked at in our first series, self-driving cars are already in action in several parts of the world. But where exactly did the idea for these vehicles come from? And how has it evolved over the years?
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.
Insufficient ‘green’ hydrogen production, the many technological challenges that may get in the way of motorisation and the explosion in the number of planes in our skies: hydrogen-fuelled aircraft won’t be zooming across our skies anytime soon. No way.
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.
Now we know a little more about the production of green hydrogen and the technological challenges that may get in the way of motorisation, it remains to be seen if this technology could ever be rolled out at large scale in our skies.
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.
Now we’ve studied the production of hydrogen necessary for a carbon-neutral fleet, next we’ll be looking at how feasible it actually is to power planes using this technology. Because despite all the hype, things might not be so simple.
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.
When it comes to reducing the huge environmental impact of air traffic, hydrogen fuel is often put forward as one of the most viable solutions. But is this so-called low-carbon energy as green as claimed?
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 that we all know a little more about the history of speed on the railways – and the infrastructure required – it’s time to ask a crucial question. Can trains travelling at 1,000 kilometres/hour eradicate the plane? And if so, over what sort of distance?
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.
For the pursuit of speed to keep rolling on, it will be necessary to build new infrastructure all over the globe. But would this be economically, technologically or environmentally feasible? The jury’s out.
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.
Since the railways were invented, engineers and operators have always aimed to make trains as fast as possible. To such an extent that Very, Very High-Speed may soon be a reality.
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.
Unable to find the right economic model, hampered by regulation and wrongly supported by automobile manufacturers, the flying car really does seem like a distant reality. Above all because it looks like it’s fundamentally incompatible with our era.
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.
Now that we know what led to the race for the (very, very) high-speed and we’ve explored its potential, it’s time to ask whether it will actually see the light of day in our lifetimes. And if we had one bit of advice? Don’t put much money on it.
Despite the conclusions of our first two episodes, the press regularly hails the arrival of the flying car based on the results of experiments and success of prototypes. The reasons for this aren’t what you might expect.
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.
With their innovative motors and ability to take off horizontally, drones have carved out a space in our skies over the past decade or so. But could they become fully-fledged vehicles one day too?
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.
Since the start of the twentieth century, inventors have built flying-car prototypes of all sorts. From cars with foldable wings to mini-planes with detachable limbs, they’ve tried basically everything. But never with any real success.
Adrien tells us about two trips – a night train with his other half and a holiday in Greece with one of his friends – that inspired the idea for Midnight Trains. Two experiences which have ended up changing his life.
In the nineteenth century, a huge railway was built through the Massif Central.
Known for its ultra-modern, avant-garde architecture, it makes for quite the scenic getaway too.
It’s official: the Thalys brand is no more. But rest assured that this legendary passenger service isn’t going to disappear from the European railway industry.
An early-twentieth-century Autorail (a French word for a single powered railcar) called La Richelaise was revived.
Scotland’s third biggest city (population 200,000) is often ranked among the country’s happiest cities, quite often coming top.
Train buffs are often the sorts of people who like numbers, thought experiments and the poetry of long journeys.
We’re in the middle of the Gobi desert in the autonomous Chinese region of inner Mongolia, and this railway leads to one of China’s most important spaceports.
It’s not exactly the most touristy of British destinations. However, as you’re about to find out, this is a city full of weird and wonderful sights.
A year after the end of the European Year of Rail, the European Commission has announced that it will support ten pilot projects in international train travel to make the sector more efficient, quicker and more affordable for travellers.
Because while it may only have 230,000 inhabitants, the various civilisations that have called this city home have let behind a gloriously rich and diverse heritage.
This is Metlaoui, a city of around 40,000 inhabitants in the west of the country. The atmosphere in the white and blue building on the station platform is relaxed.
This new railway is supposed to link up the port of Mombasa on the Kenyan coast with central Uganda.
Known for their speed, cleanliness and legendary promptness, the Japanese bullet trains or Shinkansen are admired by train buffs the world over.
Puisque les trains de la Renfe s’arrêteront bientôt à Montpellier, nous avons décidé de vous faire visiter cette ville du sud de la France, son légendaire ciel bleu et son inarrêtable énergie.
After the arrival of Trenitalia on the Paris-Lyon line at the end of 2021, this time Renfe – the historic Spanish operator – is also making moves in France
The birth of a bridge, a tunnel or a railway line that better connects people and places is always an event. That’s the case for the Blix Tunnel.
Having already visited Stockholm and Copenhagen, we’re heading back to Scandinavia to visit a city that’s not quite as well known as those capital cities: Bergen.
As it had announced in 2022, SNCF, the French national rail operator, increased train ticket prices on January 10 2023.
Today, to pay homage to this struggle (and the incomparable beauty of Iran), we’ve decided to take you on board one of the world’s most spectacular trains: the Trans-Iranian Railway.
We’ve decided to whisk you off to a place where influences from that part of the world mingle with those of the Old Continent: Yerevan, the splendid (albeit little-known) capital of Armenia.
The result of an agreement signed by Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan in February 2021, the initiative was thrown into disarray by the coming to power of the Taliban in August of that year.
Nicknamed ‘the city of the Dukes of Brittany’ and ‘the Venice of the West’, this small city of around 300,000 inhabitants is famous for its relaxed pace of life and architectural heritage.
It’s no secret that trains don’t float. People could be forgiven for opting for a vessel of some sort over a TGV to get across a river or ocean.
Since Laos has been involved in China’s new Silk Road initiatives, for better or worse, things have changed.
Dépêchez-vous, le train va partir ! Alors que vous courez comme un dératé à travers la gare londonienne de King’s Cross en poussant votre chariot de bagages, vos parents ne cessent de vous presser.
There’s a train – yes, an actual train – that allows travellers to visit his house in Finnish Lapland. So roll up and climb aboard!
Make sure to wrap up warm and definitely remember to pack a camera – we’re about to see something truly magical.
It was first a Swedish word, flygskam, comprising the words flyg (plane or aviation) and skam (shame or dishonour).
Only a handful of trains on the east coast get anywhere close, but the journeys are so short that the trains don’t reach top speeds. It’s an astonishing quirk that can be put down to a mix of historic, demographic, geographical and cultural factors.
With just over 500,000 inhabitants, it stands out for the concentration of unusual sights to be discovered in the city centre. So put on your Gore-Tex, a woolly hat and some gloves – it’s time to discover Europe’s northeastern corner.
Could all those who’ve never dreamed of driving a train raise their hand? Yep, just as we thought: there are no hands in the air.
In 1910, the City of London hosted The Japan-British Exhibition. Aiming to celebrate the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese relationship, this enormous international expo went all out to promote the Land of the Rising Sun among the British public.
The city is so underappreciated by travellers, in fact, that we’re sure many of you would struggle to even imagine what it looks like, not in the same way you can for London, Paris or New York. We’re here to change all that.
Clearly referring to the mythical route that transcontinental salesmen used in centuries gone by, it is essentially a vast web of commercial rail and sea links that will allow the country to transport goods to Europe and Africa.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome on board the RBBX, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Just because you’re more of a train person, that doesn’t mean you should miss out on a trip to the ‘Pink City’.
SNCF, for example, has launched a service known as Flexy, which can carry up to 14 passengers on lines where trains can travel between 10 and 30 kilometres an hour.
When railway services restarted between Russia and North Korea in early November 2022, the first train that travelled from one country to another was in fact a convoy filled with… 30 horses: five stallions and 25 mares.
You’d be foolish to leave Krakow off your bucket list. For this must be one of Europe’s most beautiful and exciting places.
Having run an inaugural trip between Madrid and Valencia on November 21 2022, Iryo aims to run 16 return journeys daily between the Spanish capital and the city of Barcelona.
It’s 3.30pm on June 9 1865 in the county of Kent. A train travels from Folkestone to London. On board was the writer Charles Dickens,
Nicknamed the ‘City of a Thousand Trades’ and the ‘Workshop of the World’ because of its importance during the Industrial Revolution
Gulf Railway, a project that aims to link up the various member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
One thing few people know about this veritable symbol of luxury and excess, on 301 Park Avenue, in Manhattan, is that it has a secret railway station hidden beneath it.
You can’t ignore all the history here. So start by mooching around the Plaza Mayor and its splendid arcades.
On the initiative of Gérard Leseul, the Socialist MP for Seine-Maritime's 5th constituency, this sum was based on figures from se Réseau Action Climat
Except in Australia, that is, where you’ll find what is considered to be the longest straight train line in the world.
For proof that Zurich is far from boring, head straight to Rote Fabrik (literally, the red factory).
The trip took around 45 minutes, at an average speed of between 30 and 35 kilometres per hour.
As railway workers, you and your comrades have to put into place the Operation Vert which would support the imminent landings of the Allied Forces in France. It was finally time to push out the Nazis.
Known for its beauty and refinement, the city of Bordeaux is above all famous for its wine.
A column by a group of 15 regional leaders in the newspaper Le Monde. In it, these men and women from across the political spectrum called on the national government to launch a new railway deal worth €100 billion between 2023 and 2033.
It’s 1932 and the Soviet government has ordered the construction of this gigantic line to create an alternative to one part of the Trans-Siberian.
Let’s hit up the city sometimes known as ‘little Paris’.You can immediately see why it’s acquired that nickname. First off, the architecture is pretty stunning and definitely brings the City of Light to mind.
At a time when the protection of the planet is an absolute necessity, the modernisation of the railway network in a country known for being flat is no less honourable or important. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Named KTX, for Korea Train Express, the trains are a symbol of the country’s cutting-edge technology and a very popular means of transport for locals. Let’s take a short trip.
The unsurpassable 248-kilometre-long, four-kilometre-deep no man’s land has, however, seen several trains passing through that are testament to efforts to make peace between the two Koreas.
Much lesser known than Madrid and Barcelona, this Andalusian city of 580,000 people boasts an exceptional heritage and all sorts of hidden treasures.
Having arrived in Canada at the age of 20, Georges Stephen was one of the principal architects of the railway industry in this part of the world, and was the first Canadian to be ennobled. Quite a character, in other words.
Lesser known than the eternally beautiful Syracuse, the ‘Milan of the south’ has loads to offer travellers after a mix of beauty, discovery and delicious food.
At the end of September 2022, the European Commission signed off funding worth €101 million to modernise the Palermo-Catania-Messina train line.
The Vanderbilts is a modest family, descended from Dutch immigrants, would become both rich and incredibly divisive.