New generation Nightjet enters passenger service
The new generation Nightjet train of ÖBB started passenger service for the first time on the Vienna-Hamburg and Innsbruck-Hamburg lines on December 10th. 13 of the new night trains are planned to be in use by the end of 2024.
Austrian railway operator ÖBB is currently the largest provider of night trains in Europe and aims to double its passengers to 3 million by 2030. For that, new rolling stock is necessary, and a total of 33 new seven-car Nightjets have been ordered at Siemens. ÖBB is pleased that operations could start in time for the timetable change on 10 December, saying it is due to excellent cooperation between ERA and the national authorities in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy and vehicle manufacturer Siemens Mobility that the approval for the new trains was finalised in time.
In addition, on 11 December ÖBB launched its Paris – Brussels – Berlin night train in cooperation with DB, NMBS/SNCB and SNCF. For the time being, the train only runs three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), but it should run every night again in 2024 when ÖBB has enough wagons delivered for it. The last time a night train ran between the French and German capitals was in 2014, run by Deutsche Bahn (DB).
New night train interior
In the newest generation Nightjet, all sleeping compartments have their own toilet and shower facilities. The most notable new additions are the Mini Cabins, individual sleeping spaces in the couchette car in a compact space. They include a storage area, a sliding folding table for breakfast with an integrated mirror, coat hooks, a reading lamp and directly adjacent lockers for hand luggage and shoes.
The new Nightjet consist of two seated cars, three couchette cars and two sleeping cars. Each train set has a maximum capacity of 254 passengers. Overall, the New Generation train has a lower occupancy rate than the previous Nightjets, having a 2-person compartment in the sleeping car and a 4-person compartment in the optimized couchette car for families and groups. According to ÖBB, customers have requested increased privacy on the trains. Every new Nightjet now also has a barrier-free couchette compartment for up to two wheelchair users and accompanying persons, as well as a barrier-free toilet.
ÖBB will also modernise existing night train sets and has awarded the Czech Škoda Group a contract for the overhaul and modernisation of couchette coaches for the ÖBB Nightjet fleet. A total of 6 comfort couchette coaches will be modernised, with the option for the modernisation of another 28 units.