Andreas Matthä the CEO of ÖBB and Leonore Gewessler the Minister of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology have presented the first fully upgraded multifunctional Nightjet couchette car as part of the Nightjet upgrade programme covering the modernisation of the existing fleet to increase the comfort and the range of services for passengers.
A total of 22 seating cars from the existing fleet are being upgraded by ÖBB Technische Services to new multifunctional couchette cars for the ÖBB Nightjets.
“Traveling by night train is becoming more and more popular across Europe. It is not only important to add new destinations to our Europe-wide night train network, but also to offer modern and comfortable night trains. With the Nightjet upgrade programme, we have converted conventional seated carriages into modern multifunctional couchette cars in around four months,” Andreas Matthä said.
As new “comfort couchette cars”, they will be individually integrated into the existing Nightjet trains so that the modernised cars and barrier-free compartments will be available on as many routes as possible. The first upgraded comfort couchette cars will operate on the rail route from Vienna to Bregenz when the timetable changes in December.
“The future of short and medium-haul connections in Europe is the night train. Getting on the train in Vienna in the evening and waking up in the morning in the middle of a European capital is good for the climate and a comfortable way to travel,” Leonore Gewessler said.
With the upgraded multifunctional couchette cars, ÖBB is relying on new and modern materials used for the interior of the new-generation Nightjet, which will be in use for the first time in 2023.
The modernised railcar has four-person compartments with fixed beds, which, with their equipment, significantly increase sleeping and traveling comfort, especially for families.
The multifunctional couchette coaches have a stroller space and three bicycle parking spaces, which means that in future it will be possible to transport bicycles on almost all Nightjet lines.
The modernised carriages are also designed for passengers with reduced mobility. Each multifunctional coach is equipped with a modern, barrier-free compartment with 2 beds and a barrier-free toilet.
In the future, passengers can look forward to free Wi-Fi and other technical innovations in the upgraded car, such as charging options via USB / socket on each bed or a control display with various comfort functions, such as lighting control or service calls. In addition, the new cars are equipped with an electronic access system using NFC cards and video surveillance to increase passenger security.
The upgraded Nightjet couchette car fleet will gradually be integrated into the existing trains. By the summer of 2022, all 22 cars are to be completed and will operate on selected routes in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Under its EUR 25 billion strategy for 2026, ÖBB will invest EUR 3.4 billion to expand its rolling stock which include the modernisation of the existing night trains and the procurement of new trains for night services.