Shapiro Hosts Sustainable Train Launch
28 June, 2023
Looks like my Climate Good News series is paying off! Again I got the call to host an event with the theme of Sustainability: the launch of the new European Sleeper train from Brussels to Berlin.
Background: Two Dutch entrepreneurs (and train nerds) created a startup company to offer more overnight train service throughout Europe. And – after years of crowd-funding and organizing – the day of the maiden voyage had arrived! While the two founders were focused on preparing the photo moment of the train departing… the event organizer told them they really should consider a professional host for the launch event.
I was told that the two founders were nervous and rather serious. So – as soon as I met them, I said “I hear you two are entrepreneurs… but I assume you’re primarily train nerds?” And I asked if I could take a selfie with them. Here’s what we got:
I could tell this was going to be fun.
The launch event was held in the Pullman Hotel. Hence, my intro wrote itself: “The Pullman Hotel refers, I assume, to George Mortimer Pullman – the inventor of the first railroad sleeping car. And where did George Pullman set up his business? Chicago, Illinois – which is where I’m from. …Hence, my entire life has been leading up to this moment!”
THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN
I had to ask a question of the two founders. “Everyone knows there’s a term for having sex on a plane: ‘The Mile-High Club.’ So why is there no term for having sex on a train?” And I was quickly corrected by founder Chris Engelsman, with a perfect deadpan delivery: “There is a term, actually. It’s called ‘The Mile-Long Club.’”
The event ended with the Belgian transport minister taking the stage and announcing the news: the Belgian parliament had voted to grant a subsidy to The European Sleeper and their Goodnight Train. Hey, I was already thrilled to hear that Belgium had a functioning government.
The train arrived on time and departed on time, with many happy first-time passengers.
And look at serious entrepreneur Chris Engelsman as the European Sleeper train arrives in the station.
The Goodnight Train is now running regularly from Brussels to Amsterdam to Berlin.
Next up, they plan to extend service to Prague. Soon, there will be a new service from Brussels to Barcelona. It’s like playing real-life game of Ticket to Ride!
Thanks to the excellent Alvin Williams at JMT Management for organizing a memorable event. Extra thanks for all the photos.
Read more about GREG SHAPIRO SAVES THE CLIMATE: 60 Minutes of Climate Good News