The sleeping-car on the Paris-Munich overnight train boarding at the Gare de l'Est
 

All aboard!  City Night Line is the German Railways sleeper train service.  This is the Comfortline sleeping-car on the Paris-Munich sleeper train, boarding at the Gare de l'Est in Paris.  Watch the video...

Buy City Night Line tickets at www.bahn.de/en...

I recommend you buy direct from Deutsche Bahn with all the cheap fares shown, no booking fees, in most cases you print your own ticket.  Definitely register when prompted, so you can log in, see your bookings & re-print tickets at any time.

City Night Line is the overnight sleeper train company wholly-owned by Deutsche Bahn (German Railways).  This page explains what you need to know about travelling by City Night Line overnight train.  They operate on a whole range of routes, many of interest to UK travellers, including:

Paris ► Berlin  (Perseus) - until 12 Dec

Paris ► Munich  (Cassiopeia) - until 12 Dec

Paris ► Hamburg  (Andromeda) - until 12 Dec

Amsterdam/Cologne ► Prague  (Phoenix)

Amsterdam ► Munich (Pollux)

Amsterdam ► Zurich (Pegasus)

Zurich ► Prague

On this page...

How to buy tickets    Food & drink on board    Passengers with special needs

Travel tips for City Night Line    Taking your bike    Engineering work affecting City Night Line

There are 3 types of accommodation...

Which accommodation to choose? 

If your budget allows, a berth in the sleeping-car is the most civilised, comfortable & romantic way to travel, and in a deluxe compartment you even get a private toilet & shower.  To be honest, however, there's not much difference between a deluxe and economy sleeper other than the en suite shower and a slightly bigger breakfast, so an economy sleeper is fine, especially as there's a shower at the end of the corridor anyway and often a big price difference between deluxe and economy sleepers.  Couchettes are the economy option, simple bunks supplied with sheet, rug and pillow, great for families or groups of friends or individual travellers on a budget.  A berth in a less crowded 4-berth compartment is well worth the extra over a berth in a 6-berth compartment, the 4-berth couchette compartments are the same size as the 6-berth rooms, just with fewer passengers per room.  Ordinary seats are usually arranged in 6-seat compartments with no lock on the door and no attendant on duty.  Travelling overnight in a basic seat is not very 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.  Incidentally, ships have 'cabins', the correct term on a train is 'compartment'.

Sleeping-cars...

This is the most comfortable, civilised & romantic way to travel.  The modern 2007-built Comfortline sleeping-cars used on these trains have nine economy compartments with washbasin and three deluxe compartments with private toilet & shower.  Each compartment can be used as either a 1-berth, 2-berth or 3-berth room (with upper, middle & lower berths).

Deluxe sleeper with private toilet & shower...

The deluxe rooms are a tiny fraction larger than the economy rooms, but still compact.  The main difference is that you get a small private toilet & shower, a complimentary aperitif of red wine or sparkling white on departure and a fuller breakfast next morning, served on proper china.  Soap, towels, mineral water & shower gel are provided.

City Night Line deluxe 2-berth sleeper   City Night Line deluxe sleeper in day mode   City Night Line deluxe sleeper, private toilet & shower   City Night Line deluxe sleeper breakfast
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 seats folded out and beds folded away...   Deluxe rooms have a compact private shower & toilet...   Breakfast is served in your compartment next morning.  This is the deluxe sleeper breakfast...

Economy sleeper with washbasin...

The beds and the decor are exactly the same as the deluxe rooms, the only difference is that the compartment floor space is a fraction smaller (though not so you'd notice) and there's a washbasin instead of an en suite toilet & shower.  The fare includes a simple breakfast box (roll, butter, juice, croissant, jam, patι) and cup of tea or coffee next morning.  Toilets and an excellent hot shower are available at the end of the corridor - take your plastic ving-card key with you as you may need it to unlock the door (no more free showers for couchette passengers from the car next door!).  There is shower gel in the shower, but take a towel from your compartment.

City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper   City Night Line standard (economy) sleeper in day mode   Standard sleeper compartment, washstand   Comfortline sleeper corridor
Economy 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.   Economy sleeper compartments have a washstand with hot water, fresh towels, drinking water & soap.   Just like a hotel corridor...  The corridor in a Comfortline sleeping-car...

Travelling by sleeper (both economy & deluxe)...

Standard sleeper breakfast   Luggage space in a City Night Line sleeper   City Night Line sleeper, exterior
This is the economy sleeper breakfast, included in the fare and served in your compartment...   You keep your bags with you.  There's space for a large suitcase up top, above the door, with straps to retain it...   All aboard!  One of City Night Line's new Comfortline sleeping-cars...

Couchettes...

Couchettes are basic, inexpensive but comfortable sleeping accommodation.  Couchettes normally have 6 padded bunks per compartment (upper, middle & lower each side of the compartment), but you can choose to pay a slightly higher fare to travel in a less crowded 4-bunk couchette compartment (upper & lower bunks).  The extra space and privacy is well worth the extra few pounds.  By day, a couchette compartment is an ordinary seating compartment, with two three-a-side bench seats facing each other.  At night, the attendant will convert the compartment into a sleeping compartment by folding bunks out from the wall.  A pillow, sheet and blanket are supplied, and each berth has its own reading light.  Washrooms and toilets are available at the end of the corridor.  360° photo Couchette berth layout & numbering plan - I'm often asked if berths 41, 42, 45 & 46 really together in the same 4-berth couchette compartment, and yes they are!  See these travel tips.

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 ask for a berth in a ladies-only compartment.  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.  There's plenty of space for luggage under the bottom bunks, on the racks and in the big recess above the door which projects out over the corridor ceiling.

City Night Line couchette car, exterior

A couchette car on the Munich to Paris train...

  CityNightLine couchettes (4-berth)

4-berth couchettes...

  City Night Line couchettes (6-berth)

6-berth couchettes. 360° photo

Ordinary seats...

These night trains also have ordinary seats, usually in 6-seat compartments, though a few specific trains have reclining seats arranged in open-plan saloons including Amsterdam-Zurich, Berlin-Zurich, Hamburg-Zurich, Amsterdam-Munich).  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, always book at least a couchette for a comfortable and safe journey.

City Night Line seats car, exterior

Seats car on the Paris-Munich sleeper train...

  Seats compartment on a City Night Line sleeper train

6-seater seats compartment on the Munich-Paris train.

  Reclining seats on a City Night Line sleeper train

Reclining seats (certain trains only)...

Food & drink on board...

Bistro car on a City Night Line sleeper train  

On a few routes (but notably not the CNL sleeper trains from Paris or Amsterdam) there's a bistro-bar car serving a late dinner, snacks, drinks and breakfast.

When there is no bistro car, sleeping-car passengers are served a light breakfast in their compartments, and can order a limited 'room service' of tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks or light snacks from their sleeper attendant throughout the journey.  The sleeping-car attendant will also sell drinks and snacks (or a breakfast) to passengers walking through from the adjacent couchette cars or seats.

You're welcome to take your own food and drink on board with you on all routes, indeed I recommend taking some snacks and a bottle of wine!

Photo courtesy of Deutsche Bahn...

Taking your bike...

Most City Night Line sleeper trains have a special bicycle compartment with spaces for several bikes.  It's marked with a cycle logo on the side.  Spaces must be reserved in advance, and a fee of €10-€15 must be paid per bike per journey.  For more information about taking your bike to Europe by train, see the Bikes by Train page.

Passengers with special needs...

Wheelchair-accessible 2-berth couchette:  Most City Night Line trains have one wheelchair accessible 2-berth couchette compartment, located next to a wheelchair-accessible toilet.  The whole side to the compartment and to the toilet slide aside at the touch of a button.  For more information for travellers with disabilities, and photos of this special accessible couchette compartment, see the Passengers with Special Needs page.

  Photo showing size of deluxe City Night Line sleeper
 

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

Travel tips...

How to buy tickets...

More information...

The City Night Line part of the German Railways website is at www.citynightline.de/citynightline/view/en/index.shtml.  It has more information about City Night Line services, including plans of the sleeping-cars showing berth numbers, and a timetable brochure in .pdf format, plus up to date info on any engineering work or other issues affecting City Night Line trains or reservations.

Engineering work updates affecting City Night Line trains can be found at www.citynightline.de/citynightline/view/en/info_buchung/aktuell/fahrplanaenderungen_en.shtml


See the video:

City Night Line sleeping-cars...

It's a PR video, of course, but this short film shows how good travelling in one of the new City Night Line 'comfortline' sleeping cars can be.

 

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