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Into the future with the Nightjet

July 2022

Into the future with the Nightjet
The new generation of Nightjet sleeping cars. Photo: ÖBB/Siemens Mobility

Environmental awareness, a sense of adventure or a business meeting – there are many reasons to travel by night train. To satisfy the great demand, the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) are expanding their fleet and focusing on more comfort and privacy.

Glide through the darkness, be gently rocked to sleep and arrive in another city, with breakfast in bed included. Night train journeys are trendy, and ÖBB recognised this in good time. Since 2016, they have been expanding massively – today they are Europe’s largest provider of night trains with currently 20 night connections. In addition, there are nine connections with partner railways – in the next few years there will be 26 under their own management.

Overnight to another city

Just in time for the travel summer, under the motto “Dream now. Enjoy tomorrow”, the light is green for all international Nightjets. Destinations such as Venice, Rome, Zurich, Hamburg, Berlin and Amsterdam and the new connection to Paris are enjoying great popularity. Within the next two years it will be possible to reach thirteen major European cities by new night trains. The executives of ÖBB, Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Federal Railways and the French SNCF signed a joint declaration to this effect. It is part of the concept “Trans-Europ-Express TEE 2.0”, which aims to revive old rail connections between the metropolises.

Less CO2, more comfort

Preserving natural resources is one of the declared goals. By replacing long-distance flights or long car journeys, night trains are an environmentally friendly choice. A comparison reveals that they cause only a fraction of the CO2 emissions. 100 percent of the traction power in Austria comes from renewable energy sources, almost entirely from hydropower. Night trains are popular. They save costs for overnight stays in hotels - and exclusivity is included.

The future of mobility

Not only the destinations, but also the Nightjet trains themselves are becoming more and more attractive. ÖBB has ordered 20 more seven-car night trainsets from Siemens Mobility to expand its Nightjet fleet, and by 2025 there will be a total of 33 new-generation Nightjets on the rails. The new, ultra-modern sets will be put into service next year, in the first stage primarily on the connections from Austria and Germany to Italy. The trains consist of two seating cars, three couchette cars and two sleeping cars. They combine modern design with a great deal of comfort. The couchette concept offers more privacy for single travellers in additional mini cabins. Sleeping in the sleeping car will be even more comfortable, as in future the standard and deluxe compartments will have their own toilet and shower facilities. A new feature on board is free WiFi, which was previously limited to the Railjet day trains in long-distance travel. Barrier-free overnight travel will also become even easier. Each Nightjet will be equipped with a multifunctional carriage, which has a low-floor entrance and a barrier-free couchette compartment including a toilet. ÖBB concludes: “The renaissance of night trains has already begun thanks to the red-white-red pioneering role – and will redefine the future of travel.”