From convenience to hospitality

What if we learned to love to travel again?

Here at Midnight Trains, we’re aiming to offer passengers an unforgettable experience on-board our services. And most of what we’re doing differently comes down to a single thing: we’ll be making sure your journey not only gets you from A to B, but also makes you feel relaxed and at home too. To let you in on the key ideas that inspire us, we asked Yorgo Tloupas, our creative director, to share his vision for the brand.

The invention of the wheel sounded the death knell of equality when it comes to transport, and ever since that first chariot hit the road, its simple design and the comfort it afforded made it an incontestable social marker. The Mesopotamian princes dressed radically different from the average Persian, and this was only enhanced by their lavishly decorated chariots. It took a few millennia for the industrial revolution to break down such class barriers.

Society was no longer divided into those who travelled on ostentatious horse carriages and those who wheeled along their own barrows of hay. The train, it so happened, would lump the two groups into the same vehicle: both haves and have-nots in one place, no longer distinguished one from the other. Sure, these days that egalitarian spirit may have been diminished by the existence of first, second and third classes, but it’s nonetheless worth highlighting the thoroughly democratic nature of this form of transport.

As technology and habits evolved, and cultural movements bloomed, travel became cheaper and more and more standardised. The experience of travel became much less important than the destination. In an era of global overtourism (do you remember the time, pre-pandemic, when an all-inclusive week in Cancun was a totally normal thing for tens of thousands of us to do every year?) the means became less important, speed and a prompt arrival being prioritised above all. Convenience trumped experience.

And while there’s still a whole slew of differences in comfort and experience between the luxurious, soundproofed cockpit that is the Rolls-Royce and that of a Citroën Mehari, these stark gaps in transport quality have eased in recent decades. Not all that much really sets a trip in a Skoda apart from one in a Bentley; the two brands, after all, belong to the same group and share the same technology. A first-class Paris-New York flight may offer a little more legroom, a little pouch of toiletries and a few more pleasantries on the part of the stewards, but these are only marginal differences compared with standard class. Except one ticket costs €8,000 more than the other.

On trains, the differences are even less obvious. To the extent that it can often be tricky telling which class you’ve sat down in on-board a Paris-Bordeaux TGV; the same Boco menu is served throughout the train.

The experience of long-haul travel is now more than ever considered a real need, especially these days, considering we’re faced with the unpleasantness of planes, made even more laborious by the endless piling up of antiviral and antiterrorist measures. When planning future holidays, it’s impossible not to think of that epic preamble and epilogue spent taking off your shoes, getting – let’s call it what it is – touched up by strangers, trying to not spill your tray on your lap, and travelling out to airport hubs in bizarrely out-of-the-way locations.

Midnight Trains is offering a return to pleasant, hassle-free travel, but above all a new experience as well, both simple to put into practice and more appealing in every conceivable way. It’ll be much more in tune with the values and ideals we’ve come to appreciate in recent times when it comes to international travel. Thanks to us, hospitality will be placed right at the heart of your travel experience – and offer the very best, both for you and the planet.

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