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Plan for luxury midnight trains from France to major cities hits the buffers

File photo a train leaves at night the main train station in Frankfurt, Germany. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018
File photo a train leaves at night the main train station in Frankfurt, Germany. Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 Copyright AP Photo Michael Probst
Copyright AP Photo Michael Probst
By Vincent Vitis
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Private railway company Midnight Trains had wanted to offer a luxury night train service from France to other cities in Europe although a lack of money has stopped the idea from going ahead without sufficient backing from France's public authorities.

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"Today is the end of an ambitious project launched by a bold trio," Adrien Aumont said on the company's official website.

"For four years, we’ve put all our energy into reinventing the night train to make it a mode of transport that's in tune with our times, able to compete with medium-haul aviation and offers a desirable alternative to all those who wish to continue travelling, without trashing the planet," the co-founder of Midnight Trains also said in the online statement.

"We should have realised quickly that the railway sector wasn’t ready to open up to new private entrants. The money and energy of public authorities are concentrated on energy and in our case on clean aircraft more than on the uses or improving what already exists," he added.

The reality of opening the market to competition

On opening the market to competition, Aumon said that the channels are open, but in reality, the rail market has mainly opened up to itself.

"This market was organised by the public authorities for their own historical operators, not to really create new players. Each european country can see its neighbours land on its territory and vice versa. These operators have the goods (rolling stock) and the means (financing and public guarantee bodies) to deploy.

"We knew this, but thought it would be possible to change the rules, or that they would evolve on their own," he also said in the statement.

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