This past Sunday, 05.07.2020, the first Alpen-Sylt Night Express arrived in Salzburg, after covering a route of more than 1,000 kilometers. About 120 travelers witnessed its first trip connecting Germany’s northern coast with the Alps in the south. Railcolor News brings you an exclusive report while being on board on this new Europen night train service.
Text and pictures by Henk Zwoferink. Edited by Konstantin Planinski and Simon Wijnakker.
2020 marks a particularly high demand for (inland) destinations in Germany such as the coast of Schleswig-Holstein or the Alpine region. With the Alpen-Sylt Night Express, RDC Deutschland wants to tap into this market with a completely new train that will be running four times a week, until (at least) November 2020. Thursdays and Saturdays can be traveled from Westerland to the south, while Fridays and Sundays the connections go from Salzburg to the north.
Markus Hunkel, Geschaftfhurer RDC Deutschland: “We believe in the successful renaissance of the night train in Europe. With this offer we want to fulful the desire of both holiday travelers and business customers to travel sustainably – from the consumer’s point of view an attractive alternative to air or car travel.”
With the Alpen-Sylt Night Express, many touristic destinations are being connected such as the North Sea, Wattenmeer national park, the Tegernsee, the Chiemsee, and the Bavarian Alps.
Westerland (Sylt) – Hamburg
On 04.07.2020 the first Alpen-Sylt Night Express departed from Westerland on the island of Sylt. Let’s start with some shots of the train’s interior:
The first section of the journey is not electrified. RDC has two DE 2700 diesel locomotives available for tractive power to Hamburg; 2700-02 and 2700-03, the one with children’s drawings. However, for this first trip, Hector Rail’s 861.002 “Hulk” gave acte de presence, as 2700-03 was out for maintenance.
In the north, boarding is possible in Westerland, Niebüll, Husum, Hamburg Altona, and Hamburg Hauptbahnhof.
The train itself consists of 10 coaches: eight Bvcmz couchette coaches, one Bvcmbz which features the compartment for people with reduced mobility, and a Bomdz coach, which is used for the transport of bicycles. All coaches have airconditioning, wifi and power sockets are available.
Hamburg – Salzburg
From Hamburg Altona to Salzburg electric traction is available in the form of Railpool’s Vectron 193 813, which is set to receive a special livery for this purpose. The locomotive previously had the Flixtrain design.
The Flixtrain livery of the couches remained but was adjusted by adding many promotional stickers.
After Hamburg the trip continued to Frankfurt a/M Sudbahnhof. The next places where the train called were Aschaffenburg, Würzburg, Nürnberg, Donauwörth, Augsburg, München-Pasing, and Rosenheim.
RDC Deutschland: it is possible to call at smaller stations between Rosenheim and Salzburg such as Prien am Chiemsee, Traunstein and Freilassing.
For those who do not dare to travel by plane or by normal train, the Alpen-Sylt Night Express is a possible alternative. You can have your own compartment, where you don’t have to wear a mask; This is only mandatory in the hallways.
A coupé cannot be occupied by more than one person/one group of people during the 1,000 km trip, which increases safety even more. During the trip, all passengers received a tube of disinfection gel and a towel to allow for personal disinfection.
About RDC Deutschland
Privately-held RDC Deutschland (part of the RDC group) has extensive experience with running night trains. It owns the largest fleet of couchette/sleeper coaches in Germany. There are 38 couchette coaches which can be used as normal seated cars during the day.
RDC Deutschland also owns five sleeper cars, which are used for the BTE Autoreisezug, running between Hamburg and Lörrach in 2020. In addition, RDC Deutschland also provides cars for the Autozug Sylt service – the car train between Niebüll and Westerland (Sylt).
RDC Autozug Sylt, BahnTouristikExpress, RDC Deutschland, and RDC Assets GmbH are all part of the the RDC Group.