Night trains are making a comeback in Europe after several decades of decline. The relative affordability of other means of transportation, such as budget airlines, has caused train companies to cut back on their overnight offers. Starting late 2023, however, that trend appears to be reversing with new and established European train operators announcing expanded offerings. Real Research conducted a survey on the matter to see what the lot had to say.


  • 39.17% preferred road transportation when traveling long distances
  • ‘Enjoying nature and views while traveling,’ top main priority of 32.88% of travelers
  • 48.97% felt that the government should support the development of night trains

To begin with, the survey revealed that up to 27.38% travel occasionally, 31.03% travel frequently, 24.3% rarely travel, and 7.25% reportedly never travel.

Moreover, the survey also revealed what type of transportation the mass prefers; 39.17% express preference for road transportation, while 30.23% prefer aerial transportation, and 21.24% prefer railroad transportation. A further 5.24% prefer water transportation, and 4.13% prefer ‘other’ types of transportation.

Natural Views, Expedition, Learning– Priorities When Traveling

The survey also asked respondents what their priorities are when traveling long distances. 32.88% prefer enjoying nature and the views it has to offer, whereas, 22.71% prefer reaching the destination quickly. 18.36% prefer learning new things along the way, and 11.54% want to create lasting memories with friends and family.

Fig 1: Priorities when traveling long distances

A further 9.08%, however, prefer relaxing, and 2.93% reportedly only travel for work purposes. 2.5% had ‘other’ preferences.

Read Also: 51.79% Prefer Buses as Public Transport To Commute

Night Trains or Early-morning Flights?

When asked to choose between night trains and early morning flights, nearly half of the respondents (48.53%) strongly prefer night trains to airplanes, while 34.1% felt that night trains are only ‘somewhat’ better than airplanes. Moreover, 12.32% felt that night trains are not better than airplanes, and 5.05% strongly believed that night trains are better than airplanes.

Read Also: More Than 30% Utilize Commuting Time With Sleep

Demand-Pull Factors For Night Trains

It is forecasted that fair ticket prices, comfortable and luxurious sleeper cabins, etc. could further boost night train demand by December. Respondents were asked if the stated factors could boost demand for the night trains.

Fig 2: Demand-pull factors for night trains

As shown in the figure above, 48.68% strongly believed the above factors could boost demand for night trains. While 39.22% somewhat believed that these factors could boost the demand, 8.68% somewhat did not believe these factors could boost demand for night trains. 3.42% did not strongly believe that these factors could boost demand for night trains.

Governments Must Support Night Train Developments

The recent increase in demand for night trains calls for an increase in new night train projects. These developments require government backing to obtain funding and approval.

Accordingly, 48.97%, nearly half of the respondents, strongly believed that the government should support the development of night trains. 38.47% somewhat believed, while 8.82% somewhat did not believe, and 3.75% strongly did not believe that the government should support the development of night trains.

Will the Night Train Industry Continue to Grow In the Future?

Fig 3: Respondents on the growth of the night train industry

Finally, the survey sought to ask respondents’ opinions on whether the night train industry will continue to grow in the future. This came following reports that several train-servicing industries are planning to extend night train routes in the hopes of meeting the growing demand of travelers.

In response, 45.38% strongly believed that the industry would continue to grow, whereas, 40.13% somewhat believed that the industry would continue to grow. A further 10.42% somewhat did not believe and 4.07% strongly did not believe that the night train industry will continue to grow.


Survey TitleAre Night Trains Making a Comeback?
DurationNovember 19 – November 26, 2023
Number of Participants6,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.