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5 new train journeys we’re excited about in 2023

The Points Guy 1/10/2023 Elizabeth Atkin
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Right now in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, when you hear the word “train,” you probably think “strike.”

Indeed, there have been severe disruptions to the U.K.’s railways sporadically since last summer, and some of this unrest has carried over from Christmas and into the first days of January. Strikes have been largely due to ongoing disputes between unions representing rail workers and train companies.

Generally speaking though, trains have a lot to offer travelers, particularly when it comes to exploring Europe. The Caledonian Sleeper, for example, can take you swiftly from Scotland to London overnight. From London, it’s fairly straightforward to hop on the Eurostar and reach France, Belgium or the Netherlands, where you can easily connect to more of mainland Europe by rail.

Some may find a train trip a welcome reprieve from airport security lines and pesky jet lag. Train travel is a no-brainer if you’re concerned about your carbon footprint. Catch the right train, and you’ll be rewarded with some spectacularly immersive views — just take a peek at the planet’s most scenic rides.

On board? Here’s a look at some of 2023’s most exciting new train journeys.

GoldenPass Express — Montreux to Interlaken, Switzerland

Switzerland’s GoldenPass Express. MOB © The Points Guy Switzerland’s GoldenPass Express. MOB

For more than 100 years, a direct rail route between Swiss destinations Montreux and Interlaken, via Gstaad, has been in discussion. As of Dec. 13, 2022, it’s no longer the stuff of dreams: The route offers a daily journey in each direction, with four journeys per day planned by June.

Passengers can now depart Montreux — which sits on Lake Geneva and is perhaps best known for its annual jazz festival — and stop in Gstaad or Zweisimmen before reaching the postcard-perfect town of Interlaken in just three hours and 15 minutes. Along the way, there are sweeping panoramic views of the Swiss Riviera and the towering, snowcapped Swiss Alps.

According to RailTech, this train journey is groundbreaking because the train switches gauges (from metric to standard) midjourney at Zweisimmen Station, to accommodate two types of tracks used by different types of trains. It is the first train in the world to achieve this.

To learn more or book, visit the GoldenPass Express website.

European Sleeper — Brussels to Berlin


In 2021, rail companies Moonlight Express and European Sleeper combined to form a “community-based” cooperative championing sleeper trains in Europe.

Its first offering is an overnight ride from the Belgian capital to the German capital that will pass through Antwerp, Belgium, and Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Deventer in the Netherlands. This train, called The Good Night Train, will embark on its maiden journey May 25. Tickets go on sale Feb. 20. Rates are set to start at 49 euros (around $53) for a seat, and 79 euros (around $85) for a bed, with three services per week initially.

Related: European startup aims to make overnight train travel a luxury experience

By 2024, European Sleeper plans to run the train daily, and extend the service to Dresden, Germany, and Prague. Its website also mentions future plans for sleeper trains in Scandinavia and southern Europe. Exciting, indeed.

To learn more or get booking information, visit the European Sleeper website.

Indonesia’s high-speed train — Jakarta to Bandung

  Jakarta, Indonesia. NALA_RINALDO/GETTY IMAGES © The Points Guy Jakarta, Indonesia. NALA_RINALDO/GETTY IMAGES

Indonesia is set to launch a new high-speed train on the island of Java, from Jakarta to Bandung — the first of its kind in the country and in Southeast Asia, according to Euronews.

Set to hit speeds of up to 217 miles per hour, the journey time between the cities will be just 36 minutes, rather than three hours. This will make it much easier for locals (and travelers) to commute between Jakarta — the sprawling, culture-rich capital — and Bandung in West Java, best known for its nature, surrounding volcanoes and colonial architecture.

Currently, the planned launch date is in June, and as of October 2022, this part of the line was reportedly near completion. There are plans to eventually expand the service to reach Surabaya in East Java — as it currently takes around nine hours to reach Surabaya by train from Jakarta.

To find out more about Indonesia, visit its official tourism website.

Nightjet’s extended routes — Vienna/Munich to Genoa, Italy

A Nightjet train on the platform in Vienna. HARALD EISENBERGER/OBB © The Points Guy A Nightjet train on the platform in Vienna. HARALD EISENBERGER/OBB

Nightjet, an offshoot of Austrian rail company OBB, will already be familiar to anyone who has embarked on an overnight train journey in Europe. As of 2023, it offers journeys to 25 destinations in Europe.

One route — which either starts from Munich or from the Austrian cities of Vienna and Salzburg — now extends beyond its original Italian destination, Milan. It goes to the port city of Genoa and La Spezia — both of which are in the Liguria region of Italy and act as jumping-off points for the world-famous Cinque Terre National Park.

Related: 4 European routes where you should take a train instead of a plane

Another route, which takes 15 hours total, will seasonally connect Stuttgart, Germany, to the Croatian city of Rijeka. Previously, the route began in Munich, and it typically connects to destinations such as Venice, Italy; Budapest, Hungary; and Ljubljana, Slovenia.

New, custom-built trains are also on the way for international routes, too.

To learn more or book now, visit the Nightjet website.

Amtrak’s new Acela trains — Northeast Corridor, US


In the fall, U.S. train company Amtrak is set to launch new Acela trains, serving the route along the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Philadelphia. In-between stops include Providence, Rhode Island, and New Haven, Connecticut, as well as stations in New York and New Jersey. The train then carries on to Washington, D.C.

While this route is far from new (the current Acela trains operating are reportedly more than 20 years old), the journey and the way travelers earn Amtrak Guest Rewards will be significantly smoother.

TPG reported back in May 2022 that the new Acela trains are outfitted with new seats, winged headrests and, in first class, individual armrests. Passengers can also expect “more convenient food service” and faster Wi-Fi on board. Not to mention, travelers will generally get from A to B a bit quicker, as the upgraded Acela trains can go 10 mph faster than the existing trains.

To learn more, visit the Amtrak website.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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