ÖBB night-trains will have “pods” for solo travellers from December on
Austria’s national railway company, ÖBB, is set to introduce a new fleet of 33 night trains in December 2023. Among the various enhancements offered, a distinctive feature is their emphasis on accommodating solo travellers. The new trains are equipped with individual pod-style berths, in addition to the traditional couchettes and sleeping cars.
The latest generation of Nightjets features a fleet of seven-car trains. They have received approval for Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and can reach a maximum speed of 230 kilometres per hour. Each train set consists of one control car (seating car), one multifunctional car (seating car with PRM compartment & multifunctional zone), three couchette cars (with 4-person compartments and mini cabins), as well as two sleeping cars. All compartments are fitted with their own toilet and shower facilities.
This configuration accommodates a maximum of 254 seats in a single set. The new multifunctional carriage offers bicycle parking for all cycling enthusiasts and more space for luggage and personal items such as skiing and snowboarding equipment. For passengers with restricted mobility, a modern accessible couchette compartment, as well as an accessible WC, are available in every new Nightjet – they can be reached via a low-floor entrance.
Travellers have several options to choose from when it comes to their accommodations on the Nightjet trains. The Sleeping Car Comfort Plus option offers a spacious compartment with en suite sanitary facilities, including a WC and shower. It features two built-in beds, one above the other, and can be booked as a compartment for one or two people. In addition to the comfortable sleeping arrangements, passengers can enjoy a cosy seating area. The Sleeping Car Comfort option includes two built-in beds, one above the other, which can also be booked for one or two people. The compartment comes with en suite sanitary facilities, including a WC and shower, as well as comfortable seating for a relaxing journey.
The Couchette Car Comfort is ideal for families and groups, this option offers modern 4-berth compartments with built-in beds. It provides more space and privacy for a comfortable journey. The Barrier-Free Compartment Comfort, for travellers with disabilities, offers a disabled-accessible compartment that can accommodate up to two wheelchair users and two accompanying passengers. It is located next to an accessible WC and is accessible via a wagon with a low-floor entrance.
Finally, the Seat Car and Multifunctional Area features double bucket seats with folding armrests and full-length headrests. It also offers storage facilities, reading lamps, and inductive charging at the seats. Additionally, the multifunctional area provides space for bicycles, luggage, pushchairs, skis, and snowboards.
‘Mini Cabins’ and other innovations
The true innovation can be found in the “Mini Cabins,” which are single sleeping berths located in the couchette cars. These Mini Cabins are designed in a pod-like fashion, with berths stacked in two layers, resembling a dormitory setup that allows each individual to create their own private sanctuary. These cabins cater to solo travellers, providing them with a level of privacy and a cosy, functional space. Within this compact yet efficient layout, passengers will find amenities, including storage space, a foldable breakfast table with an integrated mirror, coat hooks, a reading lamp, and adjacent lockers for hand luggage and shoes.
Passengers can now enjoy complimentary on-board Wi-Fi, while a contemporary passenger information system keeps them informed about travel updates. The train is well-equipped with various charging options, including USB and inductive charging, and improved window panes enhance network reception for more reliable mobile phone connections. Compartments are equipped with convenient control panels for adjusting lighting and requesting service assistance. For added security and ease of access, NFC card electronic entry systems are installed in the compartments, and video surveillance is in place throughout the train cars to enhance safety.