A Comfortline sleeping-car, now used by OBB on Nightjet trains
 

All aboard!  Nightjet is the new name for Austrian Railways sleeper trains, linking Austria, Germany, Italy & Switzerland.  Photo courtesy of Wiesel Fahrer.

Buy Nightjet tickets at
www.bahn.de (to/from Germany)
or www.oebb.at (to/from Austria)

You simply print your own ticket.

Travel by Nightjet sleeper train...

Nightjet is the new brand name for Austrian Railways (ÖBB) comfortable sleeper trains, adopted in December 2016.  Nightjets run on routes linking Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Italy, including routes taken over from German Railways (DB) when they discontinued their City Night Line trains.  Nightjets save time & a hotel bill when travelling long-distance across Europe - and kids of all ages love bunk beds on a train...

  Sleeping-cars

  Couchettes

  Seats

  Travel tips    

  How to buy tickets   

  Berth numbering plans

Nightjet routes...

  Düsseldorf, Cologne, Koblenz - Linz, Vienna

  Düsseldorf, Cologne, Koblenz - Munich, Innsbruck

  Hamburg - Linz, Vienna

  Hamburg - Munich, Innsbruck

  Hamburg & Berlin - Basel, Zurich

  Zurich - Linz, Vienna

  Vienna - Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome

  Vienna - Venice

  Munich - Venice

  Munich, Salzburg - Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome

Seat, couchette or sleeper, which to choose? 

Sleeping-cars = 1, 2, or 3 bed compartments, either standard compartments with washbasin or deluxe compartments with shower & toilet.  A sleeper is the most civilised, comfortable & romantic way to travel, with comfy beds in cosy & carpeted 1, 2 or 3-bed compartments.  All sleepers have a washbasin, deluxe sleepers also have a compact en suite toilet & shower.  Breakfast is included.  Sleepers convert from bedrooms to cosy private sitting rooms for morning or evening use.  Think of a sleeper as a travelling hotel.

Couchettes are the economy option, simple padded bunks with rug, sheet & pillow in either a 6-berth compartment (the cheapest option) or 4-berth compartment (slightly more expensive, but well worth it for the extra space per person).  Couchettes are great for families or groups of friends or individual travellers on a budget.  Couchettes convert to normal seats for evening or morning use.  On Nightjet trains, morning tea or coffee and a roll or croissant are included. Think of a couchette as an inexpensive hostel or pensione...

Ordinary seats are usually also offered on overnight trains, but travelling overnight in a basic seat is not comfortable and the best advice is to always book a couchette or sleeper for a safe & sound night's sleep, even if you're on a tight budget.  Think of seats as sleeping on a park bench...

The Man in Seat 61 says, "If you're on a budget, a couchette is fine, you sleep flat in a couchette just as well as in a sleeper.  Though if you're a couple, it's worth paying for a sleeper for the extra comfort & privacy if you can afford it.  If you're a family a 4-berth couchette is all you really need, although if cost isn't an issue you could book two adjacent 2 or 3 bed sleepers and open the interconnecting door - sleeper compartments which share the same first digit have a connecting door, so berths 21 & 25 connect with berths 22 & 26 next door, see the berth numbering plan."

Incidentally, ships have 'cabins', the correct term on a train is 'compartment'!

Sleeping-cars...

A bed in the sleeper is the most comfortable, civilised & romantic option.  All Nightjet trains now use modern Comfortline sleeping-cars, except for the Hamburg/Berlin-Basel/Zurich and Zurich-Vienna Nightjet trains which use double-deck sleeping-cars and the Zurich-Graz Nightjet train which still uses an older sleeping-car.  There are usually just one or two sleeping-cars on each train for a given destination.

Comfortline sleeping-cars...

Most Nightjet trains use Comfortline sleeping-cars, built in 2005-2006 by German Railways (DB) for their City Night Line sleeper trains.  When DB discontinued all their City Night Line trains in December 2016, ÖBB bought all 42 Comfortline cars and deployed them on their Nightjet routes replacing almost all their older cars.  Comfortline cars have 9 economy compartments with washbasin and 3 deluxe compartments with private toilet & shower.  Each compartment is fitted with an upper, middle & lower berth and can be sold as a 1-berth (single), 2-berth (double) or 3-berth compartment depending on demand.  See the Comfortline sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan.

Comfortline sleeping-car, freshly repainted in new Nightjet colours

A Comfortline sleeping-car freshly-repainted in the new Nightjet colours.  These modern cars are progressively being repainted from their original faded City Night Line red & white.  Photo courtesy of WieselFahrer...

Deluxe sleeper with toilet & shower...

The deluxe compartments are a fraction larger than the regular compartments, but still compact.  The main difference from the regular sleeper is that you get a small private toilet & shower instead of the washstand.  Soap, towels, mineral water & shampoo/shower gel are provided.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleepe toilet & shower   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  See video of deluxe room

 

The same deluxe compartment in daytime mode with beds folded away and seats folded out...

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact private shower & toilet, towels & hair/body wash are provided.

 

The sleeping-car corridor, just like a hotel.  There's a shower at the end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers.

Standard sleeper with washbasin.  See 360° panorama...

The beds and the decor in a standard sleeper (sometimes called an economy sleeper) are exactly the same as a deluxe compartment, the only difference is that the floor space is a fraction smaller (but not so's you'd notice) and there's a washstand instead of an en suite toilet & shower.  Toilets and an excellent hot shower are available at the end of the corridor - take your plastic ving-card key with you to the shower as you may need it to unlock the door (the lock stops couchette passengers from the car next door getting free showers!).  There is shower gel in the shower, but take a towel from your compartment.  See the Comfortline sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan.

Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper   Standard sleeper compartment, washstand   Nightjet sleeper breakfast

Standard sleeper set up as a 2-berth, with blind down & washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.

 

The same sleeper with berths folded away & seats folded out, washstand closed.  Very similar to a deluxe, but without the shower & toilet.

 

Standard sleeper compartments have a washstand with hot water, fresh towels, drinking water & soap.

 

A light breakfast is served in your compartment next morning with tea or coffee - you choose which 6 items you'd like from a menu.

Double-deck sleeping-cars...

Doppelstock cars are used on just two Nightjet routes, Hamburg-Berlin-Zurich & Zurich-Vienna.  Built in the 1990s, they come in two versions:  One with regular sleeper compartments on both decks, each compartment usable as single-berth or 2-berth plus two 3-berth compartments, one at each end.  And a mixed regular/deluxe version with 4 deluxe compartments on the upper deck and regular 1 or 2-bed compartments on the lower deck, plus a 3-berth sleeper at each end.  See the double-deck sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan.

Deluxe sleeper with shower & toilet.  See 360° panorama...

ÖBB's double-deck sleepers operate on the Zurich-Berlin-Hamburg Nightjet route, and the Zurich-Vienna Nightjet route.  A corridor runs along one side of the car at normal floor level, with a short flight of steps down to each pair of lower compartments and a short flight of steps up to each pair of upper compartments.  There are just four deluxe compartments, all on the upper deck, featuring upper & lower berth at one end, a small table & chairs in the middle (see photo below) and a very compact en suite toilet & shower at the other end (located in the corner behind the camera in the photo below right).  There's a power socket for laptops or mobiles.  The deluxe sleepers are popular and can sell out.  The deluxe compartments take up two window bays, a regular sleeper just one.

  Double deck sleeping-car

Deluxe compartment on upper deck, used as a single berth with upper bed folded away.

 

Double-deck sleeper at Zurich, this example is ÖBB's former colours...  Photo courtesy of Richard Hunt

Standard sleeper with washbasin...

These are on both the upper & lower deck, but mostly lower deck.  Each compartment can be used as a 2-berth or (with the upper berth folded away) as single-berth, each compartment has a washbasin and a power socket for mobiles or laptops.  The regular sleepers on these double-deck cars are very compact, especially on the lower deck where there's limited headroom.  There are two 4-berth compartments with washbasin, one at each end of the car at normal floor level, currently being sold as 3-berth, for some reason OBB decided not to use the fourth berth.  See the double-deck sleeping-car numbering plan.

   

2-berth sleeper on lower deck...

 

Stairs down to pair of lower compartments...

 

1 or 2-bed sleeper on lower deck with washbasin, viewed through window.  Set up as 1-bed.  Note how compact the compartment is...

Travelling by sleeper, all types...

  Breakfast
 

Nightjet breakfast:  All sleeper & couchette passengers get a complimentary light breakfast with tea or coffee.  In sleepers when you board, you'll be asked to choose which 6 items you want for breakfast from a list.

Couchettes...

Couchettes are inexpensive sleeping accommodation with simple flat padded bunks in shared compartments.  A corridor runs along one side of the car, off which open 9 cosy compartments.  You can book a bunk in a 4-berth or a 6-berth compartment - a bunk in a 6-berth is cheaper but a bunk in a 4-berth gives much more space per person so is well worth the extra cost.  Each berth comes with a fresh clean pillow, sheet & blanket, and has its own reading light.   Blinds cover the window at night.  There are washrooms and toilets at the end of the corridor.  There are compartment lighting & temperature controls above the door.

You take all your bags into the train with you, so you have access to them throughout the journey.  There's plenty of space for your luggage under the bottom bunks, on the racks above the window and in the large recess above the door which projects over the corridor ceiling.

All couchette compartments have a normal lock and a security lock on the door which cannot be opened from outside even with a staff key, so you'll be both safe and snug.  The sexes aren't segregated in couchettes as you don't normally fully undress to sleep, so men and women share the same compartments.  However, women travelling alone can usually ask for a berth in a ladies-only compartment.

For the evening & morning part of the journey, couchettes convert to seats, the middle & lower bunks convert to a 3-seat sofa facing another 3-seat sofa. 

On Nightjet trains, couchette passengers get a light breakfast with tea or coffee included in the fare.

I'm often asked if berths 41, 42, 45 & 46 really together in the same 4-berth couchette compartment, and yes they are, see the couchette numbering plan.

A Nightjet couchette car

An ÖBB couchette car freshly-repainted in the new Nightjet colours, though many are still in original pre-Nightjet colours.  Photo courtesy of WieselFahrer...

Couchette compartment in daytime mode   4-berth couchette compartment from Cologne to Vienna   6-berth couchette compartment from Koln to Wien

A couchette compartment in daytime mode made up as seats.

 

4-berth couchettes, ideal for families...

 

6-berth couchettes, the most economical option...

Ordinary seats...

You'll usually also find regular seats on a Night jet train, usually in 6-seat compartments with side corridor.  However, travelling overnight in a seat with nowhere to lie down, no attendant on duty and no lock on the compartment door, is not recommended.  It's a false economy, the equivalent of trying to save the hostel fee by sleeping on a park bench.  Always book a couchette or sleeper for a comfortable and safe journey.


Travel tips...

  Photo showing size of deluxe City Night Line sleeper
 

This shot of a Comfortline deluxe sleeper gives an impression of the compact size - don't expect to play tennis!

Fares...

How to buy tickets...

Loreley Rock, Rhine Valley   View from the top of Cologne cathedral tower.  

The legendary Lorelei Rock on the Rhine Valley, seen from a daytime train...

 

The view from the top of Cologne cathedral's south tower.

 

Cologne cathedral, next to the station...


Sleeping-car berth numbering...

Sleeper & couchette berth numbers aren't always sequential, which often worries people.  So here is the reassurance you need...

Generic European sleeper berth numbering plan...  When a compartment is sold as a double, the middle berth number isn't used.  So yes, berths  21 & 25 are together in the same compartment, with berth 23 out of use, and berths 22, 24, 26 in the compartment next door. 

  See comfortline sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan

  See double-deck sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan.

Couchette car berth numbering...

Generic European couchette car numbering plan...  When a compartment is used as a 4-berth, the middle berth numbers aren't used.  So yes, 41, 42, 45, 46 are all together in the same 4-berth couchette compartment, with berth numbers 43 & 44 unused.



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