New Nightjets for the ÖBB

A new generation of sleeper trains promise futuristic comfort to train travelers.

  • New Nightjets for Vienna.

The Austrian Railways (ÖBB) are today at the forefront of efforts to revive Europe’s night train network. But it took a dollop of courage to get there. From 2013 to 2015, night services in Europe were shut down: Sleeper services between Zurich and Madrid, Amsterdam and Germany, Denmark and Paris, and Rome and Paris were all terminated. As recently as 2016, Deutsche Bahn ended its own sleeper service.

nightjet night train rail öbb
The ÖBB NighJet reaches 26 destinations in Europe so far, with more in the works © ÖBB

Europe’s night train rolling stock approached an average age of well over 30 years – clearly, it seemed, the sleepers were on their way out.

That’s when the ÖBB stepped in. With ample experience of running sleepers at home – the long east-west stretch of Austria made night trains profitable even in a small country – the ÖBB took over the sleeper service of Deutsche Bahn in 2017. Since then, the number of connections expanded rapidly.

The ÖBB NightJet is now serving 26 destinations in Europe, with Brussels and Amsterdam to be added in 2020. In 2018, ÖBB night trains ferried a total of 1.6 million passengers, with numbers rising fast. Other rail companies have started to pay attention, too, as Friday for Future demonstration and “flight shame” takes hold on the continent.

New Trains/Nightjets

For the moment, however, the ÖBB are firmly in the driving seat. The state-owned company just placed a €200 million order for 13 completely new and redesigned sleeper trains built by Siemens – the first such design overhaul in Europe in six decades.

Each new NightJet train unit will consist of three couchette coaches, two sleeping coaches and two sitting (day) coaches. Privacy is a priority, which is why the new couchette coaches will feature “mini suites” that can be closed individually – all complete with a little mirror, a window, an overhead locker and a foldable table. There will also be modernized family compartments on the couchette.

The compartments for two in the sleeping coaches will in the future also include a bathroom and toilet. Furthermore, the new night trains will have free WiFi for all passengers.

Fittingly, the new night trains will be manufactured in in Vienna’s 11th district, Simmering. The traditionally working-class district also powered the Habsburg Empire’s railway boom in the 19th century. On December 16, work on the new carriages will begin. The new sleepers are scheduled to enter service in 2022.

Benjamin Wolf
Benjamin studied Journalism, History and International Affairs. After stints with Cafébabel in Paris and Arte in Strasbourg, he is now working as managing editor and COO for Metropole in Vienna. Fields of expertise are politics, economics, culture, and history.Photo: Visual Hub

Help us help you

“Strong media and independent journalism are built on the shoulders of subscribers. Your support means the world to us.

Benjamin Wolf
COO & Managing Editor

The coronavirus outbreak affects and challenges your life in big and small ways. Metropole is here for you and we are proud to be your news source during this crisis.

But just as the coronavirus has increased the need for independent journalism, it has also undercut a major revenue source of media companies, ours included – advertising.

We need your support to keep it up – donate or subscribe and #helpushelpyou!

Support Metropole!


RECENT Articles

The Coronavirus in Austria & Vienna | New Support Platform Launched

Here’s all you need to know about current measures and developments, including trusted sources and tips – regularly updated.

Book Review | Daniel Kehlmann & The Power of Mockery

In Tyll, widely-acclaimed German-Austrian author Daniel Kehlmann reinvents a medieval legend to unmask the fatuity of rulers and the wisdom of tricks.

Why the EU Recovery Fund Is a Big Deal – for Europe & for the Climate

The recent budget-corona negotiations could lead to the creation of a fiscal union and a greater emphasis on sustainability.

Musical Chairs for UK-EU Expats – Grab a Seat Before the Music Stops

As the Brexit negotiations drag on, there is still no final clarity on the future of British citizens living in Europe. It is likely to be reciprocal – whatever that means. With Boris, who knows?

Max Schrems Challenges Facebook and Wins. Again.

European court ruling strikes down the transatlantic data transfer mechanism in a case initiated by the young Austrian data privacy advocate.

Vienna Takes on Airbnb Over Social Housing

After negotiations failed, the city is suing the short-term housing platform over illegal sublets in Gemeindebauten municipal apartments.


Join over 5,000 Metropolitans, who already get monthly news updates and event invitations.