Can Europe’s last sleeper trains survive?

September 2, 2015

(CNN)It’s close to midnight and Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof central station is almost deserted.

But on platform five, there are scenes of mild chaos.

The City Night Line sleeper has just pulled in and passengers — me among them — are grabbing their luggage and eyeing up the carriages that, for the next eight hours, will be their hotel on wheels.

I’ve been fascinated by night trains ever since I first took a sleeper from Munich to the Hungarian capital Budapest 20 years ago.

Back then such trains were still relatively common sights in European cities not yet in thrall to the budget airline revolution.

Today, it’s a different story.

Night services are in decline against the competition of cheap airfares and faster daytime intercity train services.

Yet the allure of the trans-European night sleeper, the star of countless literary and film classics from Agatha Christie to James Bond, continues to endure.

So what’s it like riding today’s night sleepers?

Read the story by Marcel Krueger and see the pictures on CNN by clicking here.

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