First new Nightjets expected in summer 2023 on routes from Vienna and Munich to Rome, Venice and Milan
The latest generation of Nightjet sleeper trains in Europe has been unveiled.
Made by Siemens Mobility in Vienna and sponsored by Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), the new seven-car Nightjets are comprised of two seating cars, two sleeping cars with two-person compartments, and three couchette cars made up of four-person compartments.
There are also mini cabins for solo travellers in the couchette cars, including a storage area, adjustable folding table with integrated mirror, a reading lamp and a locker for luggage.
The trains will travel at a maximum speed of 230km per hour and hold up to 254 passengers, promoting a more climate-friendly approach to travel in Europe.
Those in sleeping-car compartments will have their own toilets and showers, as well as a seating area and fixed beds.
For passengers in mini cabins, there will be a storage area and a movable folding breakfast table, as well as an integrated mirror, coat hooks, a reading light and lockers for luggage.
Each Nightjet train also has an accessible couchette compartment and bathroom.
“Night trains are becoming increasingly common in Europe as a climate-friendly alternative to short-haul flights,” said Austria’s Climate Protection Minister, Leonore Gewessler.
"A trip with the Nightjet is around 50 times more climate-friendly than travelling with an airplane.”
“This train is the start of a new era in night-time travel”, added OBB CEO Andreas Matthä.
Austria’s Nightjet services launched in 2016, linking hubs in Italy, Germany, Belgium and beyond.
A new route from Paris to Salzburg and Vienna commenced last December.
Tickets start from €29.99 on special for shorter routes in basic fare categories, while compartments cost from €139.90 for one person, €179.80 for two and €209.70 for three sharing.
The trains provide wireless phone charging points onboard and all compartments have mood lighting “at the touch of a button on the compartment control panel”, according to Mark Smith, founder of train travel website The Man in Seat 61 (seat61.com), who attended the launch event.
The first trains are expected to be in use by the end of the summer 2023 and will run on routes from Vienna and Munich to Rome, Venice and Milan.
By 2025, all 33 Nightjet trains will be in service across Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
They will replace the majority of the existing trains.
Night and sleeper trains are already popular in Europe – France has its Intercités de Nuit overnight trains, for example; Italy has a network of overnight services such as Rome to Sicily, and a new electric-powered sleeper train service from Hamburg to Stockholm was launched on September 1, allowing passengers travel to Sweden from the UK in less than a day.
French start-up Midnight Trains hopes to debut in 2024. “It’s time to retire the short-haul flight,” it says.