CZECH Railways (ČD) is investing in refurbishing its sleeping cars while expanding international night services to and from the Czech Republic.

“We want to give night traffic another boost,” says ČD chairman and CEO, Mr Michal Krapinec. “That is why we have prepared a new brand for services related to night travel. Based on a survey among passengers and employees, we created a new ČD Night brand, under which our customers can find all the information related to overnight travel. In our case, it's not just about a new image, a logo and a few colourful pictures, but also about tangible, concrete changes.”

ČD is modernising nine type WLABmee sleeping cars and nine type Bcmz couchette cars, with Škoda Transportation subsidiary Škoda Pars Šumperk modernising the WLABmee vehicles while DPOV, a subsidiary of ČD, will refurbish the couchette cars. The refurbished coaches will be equipped with Wi-Fi, a fire protection system and controlled emission toilets.

ČD is already modernising other sleeping cars currently deployed on Prague - Košice and Prague - Bratislava - Budapest services to Slovakia and Hungary.

The Canopus international night train will be introduced from the timetable change on December 11, operating from Prague via Dresden, Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main and Basel to Zürich. The service will depart Prague at 18.25, arriving in Zürich at 09.05, while the return service will depart Zürich at 19.59, arriving at Prague at 09.25.

The train will comprise sleeping cars with a ‘deluxe’ compartment, couchette coaches and seats coaches. The reinstated night service is operated by ČD in collaboration with Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), while German Rail (DB) will also provide support and sell tickets.

Fares for a couchette berth start from €69 while fares for sleeping car berths start from €89.