ÖBB is one of the few railways in Europe that sees a long-term future for its overnight trains, and with German Rail's (DB) decision to withdraw from the market, it is negotiating the takeover of some threatened services in Germany. With its night train fleet ageing, ÖBB is considering ordering new sleeping cars and couchettes.

For the couchettes, a new design has been developed to give passengers more privacy. Each compartment has four wide berths on two levels which meet in the middle and are separated by a sliding wall that can be part-opened at each level. There are also storage compartments for shoes and four small luggage boxes. Each berth has sliding doors to provide more privacy.

A folding table has been fitted in each berth although there will be no daytime configuration for the cabin as in previous couchette designs. Furthermore, luggage space seems to be somewhat limited.

On the positive side, each berth has a computer socket and individual lighting. The mock-up was on displayed at ÖBB's headquarters in Vienna and visitors were invited to complete a survey, which should lead to further refinement of the new design.

OBB future couchette PORTRAIT