Updated: February 2020
In 2019, Interrail announced simpler rules for night trains. The “7pm rule” is no longer in use, so please disregard anything you have read or heard about that. This blog post is kept up-to-date & covers the Interrail night train rules as of 2020. At the end, there is a quiz so that you can make sure you understand the rules!
Night train rule summary
Here are the key things you need to know about taking a night train with your Interrail pass.
- Travelling on a night train only requires the use of one travel day.
- The travel day used is for the date the night train departs (i.e. if the night train departs on Day 1 & arrives on Day 2, the travel day used is for Day 1)
- If you travel on other trains on Day 1, this uses the same travel day
- If you travel on other trains on Day 2, this uses a second travel day
- If you get a night train but then change trains any time after midnight, this counts as travelling on Day 2, so requires the use of a second travel day
- Both Day 1 & Day 2 need to be within the period your Interrail pass is valid for, i.e. if your pass expires on Day 1 of the night train & is no longer valid on Day 2, your pass is not valid for that night train
A night train is defined as any train journey that departs on one date, and arrives on the next, i.e. the journey takes you past midnight. This could range from a long overnight journey across Europe in a sleeper cabin, to a short late-night train back to your hostel departing before midnight but arriving just after midnight.
The night train rules are important if you have a pass that only includes a limited number of travel days, such as the ‘7 days within 1 month’ pass. Understanding the night train rules can help you to maximise the use of your valuable travel days & get the most out of your Interrail trip.
If you have a pass where every day is a travel day (such as the ’22 days’ pass), the rules do not matter as much – you just need to make sure your pass is valid for both Day 1 and Day 2 when getting a night train.
Night train rule examples
Here are some examples to demonstrate how different combinations of trains use different amounts of travel days, as per the rules above:
|#||Day 1||Day 2||Travel days used|
|1||Paris > Milan (night train)||Arrive & stay in Milan (no other trains)||1 (on Day 1)|
|2||Brussels > Paris (day train)|
Paris > Milan (night train)
|Arrive & stay in Milan (no other trains)||1 (on Day 1)|
|3||Paris > Milan (night train)||Milan > Florence (day train)||2 (on Day 1 & Day 2)|
|4||Brussels > Paris (day train)|
Paris > Milan (night train)
|Milan > Florence (day train)||2 (on Day 1 & Day 2)|
Night train rule FAQ
What if I need to change trains as part of my overnight journey?
If you have to change train after midnight, this will use 2 travel days. For example, if you get one train on 1st July from 20:00 to 00:30 and another train on 2nd July from 1:00 to 8:00, this will use a travel day for 1st July and a travel day for 2nd July.
If you change trains before midnight, you only need to use 1 travel day. For example, if you get one train on 1st July from 20:00 to 23:00 and another train from 23:30 to 8:00 this will use a travel day for 1st July only.
What if I need to get another train before taking a night train?
This is perfectly fine. Any trains you get on the day your night train departs are covered by the same travel day as the night train. See example #2 in the table above.
What if I need to get another train after taking a night train?
This will require the use of a second travel day. See example #3 in the table above.
Can I get a night train on the last day of my Interrail pass?
No, your Interrail pass is not valid for night trains that depart on the last date your pass is valid. Your pass must be valid for both the day the night train departs & the day it arrives.
What is the “7pm rule”?
The “7pm rule” is the old night train rule, from before 2019 – it is no longer in use, so can be ignored. The rules outlined above are the ones currently in use – those are the ones you should pay attention to.
Night train reservations
Make sure you make a reservation for your night train. While they’re not always that busy, you need to book in advance. This is to ensure you get the comfort you want, as there are generally three options: seats, couchettes, and sleepers. Take a look at our guides to night trains or Interrail seat reservations for more info.
How Interrail Planner helps with night trains
Using our free Interail planning tool, you can create a trip itinerary complete with night trains. If you upgrade to our Premium account, you gain access to the pass tracking feature, which automatically calculates the travel days your itinerary uses – this feature takes the night train rule into account & covers all the different scenarios outlined in this blog post.