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Rail body calls for sleeper trains to use Channel Tunnel due to rise in post-Covid eco-tourism

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A rail industry body has proposed to run sleeper trains through the Channel tunnel as night trains come back to several European countries.  

Night trains, including those travelling from Paris to Nice and Brussels to Stockholm and Vienna, are being revived. 

Many cross-country sleeper services were phased out five years ago after the rise of budget air travel. 

A rail industry has proposed to run sleeper trains through the Channel tunnel as night trains come back to several European countries. Caledonian Sleeper is one of the sleeper services which runs in the UK

A rail industry has proposed to run sleeper trains through the Channel tunnel as night trains come back to several European countries. Caledonian Sleeper is one of the sleeper services which runs in the UK

International overnight train services are being revived in order to cater for a growing demand from those who want to travel in an environmentally-friendly way, according to The Times.   

The Channel tunnel’s safety rules would have to be relaxed for this to be economically possible as it currently requires specific and expensive rolling stock. 

Overnight trains running internationally from the UK could mean passengers going to bed in the UK and waking up for breakfast in Barcelona.  

Night trains, including those travelling from Paris to Nice and Brussels to Stockholm and Vienna, are being revived due to demand for more environmentally-friendly travel. Pictured: inside of a Caledonian Sleeper train

Night trains, including those travelling from Paris to Nice and Brussels to Stockholm and Vienna, are being revived due to demand for more environmentally-friendly travel. Pictured: inside of a Caledonian Sleeper train

The High Speed Rail Group is proposing an increased use of overnight rail services to help meet the UK’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. 

The UK became the first major economy in the world last year to pass laws to end achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

The target requires the UK to bring greenhouse gas emissions to net zero in the next 30 years.  

The High Speed Rail Group is proposing an increased use of overnight rail services to help meet the UK's target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Pictured: a room inside a Caledonian Sleeper train

The High Speed Rail Group is proposing an increased use of overnight rail services to help meet the UK’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Pictured: a room inside a Caledonian Sleeper train

Sleeper trains are becoming increasingly popular as people shy away from flying as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Caledonian Sleeper is a service connecting London and Scotland, stopping in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Fort William, Glasgow and Inverness. 

The service was revamped last year and aimed to create a luxury hotel experience, according to The Guardian

Overnight travel was once considered romantic and featured in novels and films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest. 

The Orient Express was a long-distance, international passenger train introduced in 1883.

Overnight trains running internationally from the UK could mean passengers going to bed in the UK and waking up for breakfast in Barcelona. Pictured: a double room in a Calendonian Sleeper train

Overnight trains running internationally from the UK could mean passengers going to bed in the UK and waking up for breakfast in Barcelona. Pictured: a double room in a Calendonian Sleeper train

Through its time, it served destinations such as Istanbul, Bucharest, Budapest, Paris and Vienna. 

It became synonymous with luxury travel, but stopped running in December 2009. 

European rail operators and politicians believed increased competition between budget airlines and rail operators is to blame with investment in trains diminishing as budget air travel soared higher. 

A Department for Transport spokeswoman told The Times: ‘We are committed to supporting the growth of international rail travel, including potential sleeper services, to deliver more flexible and environmentally friendly connections. 

‘We stand ready to work with any potential operators who have a commercially viable proposition.’ 

Talking to MailOnline Travel in 2015, Bernhard Knierim, from the Back on Track campaign group, said that it was incomprehensible for international trains to be discontinued while people speak about the climate being at risk.   

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