The Impressive Size of Europe’s Night Train Network

Sep 26 2023
size of the European night train network

Europe’s night train network is a fascinating labyrinth of railways that crisscross the continent. If you’ve ever wondered just what’s actual size of the night trains’ network, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s embark on a journey together to uncover the vastness of Europe’s night train network.

What is a night train?

Before delving into the calculation of the network’s size, it’s essential to establish a clear definition of what is a night train. The comprehension of night trains encompasses considerations such as the train type, typical operating hours, and available service classes. In the case of Nightgoes, we concentrate our efforts on referencing all “classic night trains” which includes:

Simple night trains: long distance train including the opportunity of couchette coaches.

Traditional night trains: mostly operational in Central Europe, conventional night trains which offer couchettes and sleeping cars.

Hotel night trains: these unique services allow travelers to book entire sleeping car compartments, ensuring a private and comfortable journey.

Night-Time Train Travel: A Stated-Preference study into the Willingness to Use night trains for European long-distance travel – Heufke Kantelaar, Martijn

Destinations Beyond Imagination

Now that we have a clear understanding of what defines a night train, let’s embark on a journey to discover the network’s boundaries.


Narvik stands as the northernmost point accessible by night train, where the rail tracks halt. Leaving only the wilderness of the Arctic beyond.


Syracuse, with its Mediterranean allure, serves as the southernmost point in today’s night trainnetwork . Offering a taste of Southern Europe’s culture and beauty.


While Cabo da Roca currently lacks night train service, Penzance in the UK marks the westernmost accessible point.


The possibilities are limitless as night trains can take you eastward towards Asia. Though a direct night train from Paris to Moscow was once a reality. This route has been temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict. For now, the easternmost limit within the network is Istanbul, straddling Europe and Asia.

Calculating the Network’s Size

Measuring the size of the European night train network is no simple task. It’s a dynamic entity, constantly evolving due to line openings, closures, and seasonal variations. We’ve calculated the distances between each stop along the night train routes based on the criteria outlined earlier.

The Immensity of the Network

As of September 2023, the European night train network impresses with its remarkable size and extensive connections.

Over 230 Night Train Connections: This vast network serves more than 1200 train stations, offering travelers an extensive array of destinations to choose from.

Approximately 66,500 Kilometers of Track: To put this into perspective, that’s roughly 1.6 times the Earth’s equatorial circumference. This extensive web of railways promises a multitude of experiences, landscapes, and cultures for explorers.


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