AUSTRIAN Federal Railways (ÖBB) and Siemens Mobility have unveiled the next generation of Nightjet sleeping and couchette cars at Siemens’ plant in Vienna.
After an initial order for 13 Nightjet trains under a €1.5bn framework contract signed in 2018, ÖBB ordered a further 20 seven-car Nightjets from Siemens, based on the new generation Viaggio Next Level vehicle, in August 2021.
The new cars are designed to offer passengers greater comfort and increased privacy and the aim is that by the end of 2025, a total of 33 next-generation ÖBB Nightjets will be connecting European cities overnight at speeds of up to 230km/h, offering an environmentally-friendly journey option.
The first of the new-generation cars are scheduled to be in operation by the end of summer 2023 on the popular routes from Vienna and Munich to Rome, Venice and Milan. By 2025, the 33 next-generation Nightjets will be in service on routes in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Each seven-car Nightjet formation is to be made up of two seating cars (comprising a control car and a multifunction car), three couchette cars and two sleeping cars. The maximum capacity per train is 254 passengers and compartments have been designed with greater comfort, space and privacy in mind.
By reducing occupancy to two people per sleeping compartment, four in a couchette compartment and providing mini cabins for those travelling alone, ÖBB believes it is meeting customer needs for greater privacy.
All sleeping compartments have their own toilet and shower, while fixed beds will help to increase sleeping comfort. There is also a seating area so passengers can choose to relax and read, work or eat during part of their journey.
Each compact mini cabin has everything needed for an undisturbed overnight journey: a luggage storage area, a folding breakfast table with integrated mirror, coat hooks, reading light and lockers.
The multifunction car will offer six bicycle spaces, and additional space for luggage or ski and snowboarding equipment. For passengers with reduced mobility problems, each new Nightjet train will have an accessible couchette compartment as well a low-floor entry bathroom.
Other improvements include free Wi-Fi for all Nightjet passengers, with the ÖBB Railnet onboard portal available for internet access, streaming and e-magazines.
A new information system in all cars will keep passengers updated on the progress of their journey, and compartments are fitted with conventional power outlets, charging points for electronic devices and window glass designed to provide more stable mobile phone reception.
Each compartment has a control panel with a button for summoning onboard staff. The compartments also have an electronic access system using NFC cards, and all cars are equipped with CCTV.
“The newly developed bogies, which are lightweight and enable comfortable and energy-efficient operation throughout their entire lifecycle, provide a particularly quiet ride,” says CEO of rolling stock at Siemens Mobility, Mr Albrecht Neumann.
“Night trains are gaining momentum throughout Europe, because they’re the climate-friendly alternative to short-haul flights,” says Austria’s federal minister of climate action, Ms Leonore Gewessler. “When you travel by night train, you choose the most relaxed way to travel. You also contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. Travelling with Nightjet is around 50 times more climate-friendly than an aeroplane.”
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