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Europe has a new solution to cut air-travel emissions: sleeper trains

For the past several decades, it’s been wildly easy—and affordable—to fly from one European city to another. But across the continent, governments are pushing back by investing in rail travel as a low-carbon alternative. France, for example, is pouring $110 billion into its trains by 2040 and recently banned shorter domestic flights between cities where there is rail service. “A really large level of investment is required to improve the service and coverage” throughout Europe, says Gonzalo Cantabrana Fernández, sector lead for infrastructure and project finance for Europe and the Middle East at S&P Global.

As governments tackle infrastructure challenges, state-run and private rail operators are acting as locomotives, adding overnight routes; at least eight will debut or be revived by the end of this year. One of the latest is the “Good Night Train,” from startup European Sleeper, cofounded by Dutch entrepreneurs Chris Engelsman and Elmer van Buuren. Its Berlin to Brussels service (from about $77, one way) launched in early May. The 470-mile trip takes 12 hours and emits about a tenth of the carbon of a flight. The cofounders now aim to extend the route to Prague, add a second route, and replace their rented train cars with custom-built carriages. Fast Company rode the route in June to see how the future of travel is taking shape in Europe.

Source: Fast Company