A Comfortline sleeping-car, now used by OBB on Nightjet trains
 

Nightjet is the name for Austrian Railways sleeper trains linking Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Paris, Brussels & Amsterdam.

Buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com (in €, Ł, $) or www.oebb.at (in €)

Buy Nightjet sleeper train tickets

A guide to travel by Nightjet

Nightjet is the brand name for Austrian Railways (ÖBB) comfortable sleeper trains, launched in 2016 and linking the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Italy.  Huge distances are covered overnight while you sleep in a safe & cosy sleeper or economical flat-bed couchette, city centre to city centre - it saves a hotel bill too. 

The Man in Seat 61 says:  "I love travelling by Nightjet, it's a real treat - kids of all ages love bunk beds on a train."

small bullet point  Sleeping-cars

small bullet point  Couchettes

small bullet point  Seats

small bullet point  Travel tips    

small bullet point  How to buy tickets   

small bullet point  Berth numbering plans

small bullet point  Video:  A journey by Nightjet

small bullet point  The Nightjet story

small bullet point  New generation Nightjet trains

Nightjet routes

small bullet point  Paris - Munich, Salzburg, Vienna (3 times a week)

small bullet point  Brussels - Munich, Salzburg & Vienna (3 times a week)

small bullet point  Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Cologne - Linz, Vienna

small bullet point  Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Cologne - Munich, Innsbruck

small bullet point  Amsterdam - Basel, Zurich

small bullet point  Hamburg - Linz, Vienna

small bullet point  Hamburg - Munich, Innsbruck

small bullet point  Hamburg - Basel, Zurich

small bullet point  Berlin - Basel, Zurich

small bullet point  Berlin -  Vienna

small bullet point  Munich, Salzburg - Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome

small bullet point  Munich - Venice

small bullet point  Vienna - Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome

small bullet point  Vienna - Venice

small bullet point  Zurich - Linz, Vienna

small bullet point  Paris-Berlin & Brussels-Berlin: New, starting 10 December 2023!

Seat, couchette or sleeper, which to choose?

Sleeping-cars = 1, 2, or 3 bed compartments, standard with washbasin or deluxe with en suite shower & toilet.  A sleeper is the most civilised, comfortable & romantic way to travel, with proper beds in cosy & carpeted 1, 2 or 3-bed compartments.  Breakfast is included.  Sleepers convert from bedrooms to cosy private sitting rooms for morning or evening use.  Berths are sold individually, so if travelling solo you can book one inexpensive bed in a 2-berth or 3-berth compartment and share with other sleeper passengers of the same gender, you don't need to pay for a single-bed compartment if you don't want to.  Think of a sleeper as a travelling hotel.

Couchettes are simple padded bunks with blanket, sheet & pillow in either a 6-berth compartment (cheapest) or 4-berth compartment (a little more expensive, well worth it for the extra space per person).  Couchettes are great for families or groups of friends or individual travellers on a budget.  Couchettes convert to normal seats for evening or morning use.  On Nightjet trains, morning tea or coffee and a roll or croissant are included. Think of a couchette as an inexpensive hostel or pensione.

Ordinary seats are also offered on Nightjets, but travelling overnight in a basic seat is not 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 budget.  Think of seats as sleeping on a park bench.

The Man in Seat 61 says, "If you're on a budget, a couchette is fine, you sleep flat in a couchette just as well as in a sleeper.  Though if you're a couple, it's worth paying for a sleeper for the extra comfort & privacy if you can afford it.  If you're a family a 4-berth couchette is all you really need, although if cost isn't an issue you could book two adjacent 2 or 3 bed sleepers and open the interconnecting door - sleeper compartments which share the same first digit usually have a connecting door, so berths 21 & 25 connect with berths 22 & 26 next door, see the berth numbering plan."

Incidentally, ships have 'cabins', the correct term for a room on a train is 'compartment'!

Sleeping-cars

A bed in the sleeper is the most comfortable & civilised option. 

Which type of sleeping-car operates which route?  Nightjet trains use 3 types of sleeping-car:  Most Nightjet trains use modern Comfortline sleeping-cars built in 2005-2006, but the Hamburg-Zurich & Zurich-Vienna Nightjet trains use double-deck sleeping-cars built 1992-1995 and the Amsterdam-Zurich sleeper train uses the older AB33 type.  From 10 December 2023, the Hamburg-Vienna and Hamburg-Munich/Innsbruck routes will use new generation Nightjet trains.  There is usually just one sleeping-car on each train for a given destination, occasionally two.

Comfortline sleeping-cars

All Nightjet sleeper trains use Comfortline sleeping-cars, except for Zurich-Hamburg, Zurich-Vienna, Amsterdam-Basel/Zurich and (from 10 December 2023) Hamburg-Vienna/Innsbruck.  Comfortline sleeping-cars were built by Siemens in 2003-2005 for German Railways' City Night Line sleeper trains.  ÖBB bought all 42 Comfortline cars when DB discontinued City Night Line in 2016, and deployed them on their Nightjet routes replacing their older cars.  Comfortline cars have 12 compartments, of which 9 are economy with washbasin and 3 deluxe with toilet & shower.  Each compartment is fitted with an upper, middle & lower berth and can be sold as a 1-berth (single), 2-berth (double) or 3-berth depending on demand.

Beds are 190cm x 75cm (approx 6'3" x 2'6"), but pillow or toes can project into a 2.5cm (1") gap either end between bed & wall, so no problem for anyone up to 6'5".

The Man in Seat 61 says "Having an en suite is nice, but frankly the standard & deluxe compartments are so similar I wouldn't get hung up on getting a deluxe.  There's a shower for standard sleeper passengers at the end of the corridor."

Comfortline sleeping-car, freshly repainted in new Nightjet colours

A Comfortline sleeping-car about to leave Innsbruck on the Nightjet to Cologne & Dusseldorf on a summer's evening.  The slightly wider windows are the 3 deluxe compartments, the narrower windows are the 9 standard compartments.

Comfortline sleeper layout.  All compartments can be sold as a single, double or triple.  Last digit of berth number 1 or 2 = lower berth, 3 or 4 = middle berth, 5 or 6 upper berth.  Adjacent compartments with berths with the same first digit have an inter-connecting door which can be opened if your party occupies both compartments.  Click the image for larger version.

Nightjet sleeper bed numbering - Comforrtline type

Deluxe sleeper with toilet & shower  360° photo

The deluxe compartments are a fraction larger than the regular compartments, but still compact.  The main difference from the regular sleeper is that you get a small private toilet & shower instead of the washstand.  Soap, towels, mineral water & shampoo/shower gel are provided.

Nightjet deluxe 2-berth sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper in day mode   Nightjet deluxe sleeper toilet & shower   Comfortline sleeper corridor

Deluxe sleeper.  Each compartment can be used as a 1, 2 or 3-bed room.  Larger photoVideo of deluxe room

 

Deluxe sleeper in day mode, beds folded away, seats folded out and the table set up.  Larger photo.

 

Deluxe rooms have a compact shower & toilet, soap & towels provided.  Larger photo.

 

Sleeping-car corridor, just like a hotel.  There's a shower at the end of the corridor for standard sleeper passengers.

Nightjet deluxe sleeper   Nightjet deluxe sleeper

Deluxe sleeper, seen from top bunk. Larger photo.

Looking down from top bunk, with door to en suite open.

Standard sleeper with washbasin  360° photo

The beds and the decor in a standard sleeper (sometimes called an economy sleeper) are exactly the same as a deluxe compartment, the only difference is that the floor space is a fraction smaller (but not so as you'd notice) and there's a washstand instead of an en suite toilet & shower.  Toilets and an excellent hot shower are available at the end of the corridor, see 360° panorama of shower room - take your plastic ving-card key with you to the shower as you may need it to unlock the door (the lock stops couchette passengers from the car next door getting free showers!).  There is shower gel in the shower, but take a towel from your compartment.  See the Comfortline sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan.

Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper   Nightjet standard (economy) sleeper   Standard sleeper compartment, washstand   Nightjet sleeper breakfast

Standard sleeper set up as a single, with washstand open.  Each room can be used with 1, 2 or 3 beds.  Larger photo.

 

Same sleeper with berths folded away, washstand closed.  Similar to deluxe without the shower & toilet.  Larger photo.

 

Standard sleeper compartments have a washstand, soap, towels, bottled water.  Larger photo.

 

A light breakfast is served in your compartment with tea or coffee - you choose which 6 items you'd like from a menu.

Compartment door showing locks   Goodies on the bed in a Nightjet sleeper   Power socket

Door showing key-card, normal lock & deadlock.

 

Goodies on the bed when you board:  Complimentary welcome drink (sparkling wine), fruit drink, bottled water, slippers, towel, pen, breakfast order form, Nightjet room service menu.

 

Power socket for laptops & mobiles, near the door.

Single-bed standard sleeper compartment   Nightjet shower cubicle   Nightjet Comfortline sleeper at Vienna

Standard sleeper looking towards corridor, luggage space above door. Larger photo.

 

Shower compartment at the end of the corridor, for passengers in the standard sleepers.  It also has a WC.  It's a good shower, I tend to use it in the evening so I never have to wait my turn and there's always lots of hot water.  Larger photo.

Double-deck sleeping-cars

Only 2 nightjet routes use these double deck sleeping-cars, Zurich-Vienna & Zurich-Hamburg.  A corridor runs along one side of the car at normal floor level, with a short flight of steps down to each pair of lower-deck compartments and a short flight of steps up to each pair of upper-deck compartments.  Built 1992-1995, they come in two versions which normally operate as a pair:  A WLB version with standard sleeper compartments with washbasin on both decks (9 upper deck, 8 lower deck), and a WLAB version with 4 deluxe compartments on the upper deck and 8 standard compartments with washbasin on the lower deck.  Both types also have two 3-berth compartments, one at each end, originally fitted with 4 berths now always sold as a 3-berth.  All beds are 190cm x 70cm.  See the double-deck sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan.

Double-deck sleeping-car on a Nightjet at Zurich

A double-deck sleeping-car on the Vienna-Zurich Nightjet, arrived at Zurich.

Deluxe sleeper with toilet & shower

There are just 4 deluxe compartments all on the upper deck of a WLAB type car, with an upper & lower berth at one end, a small table & chairs in the middle (see photo below left) and a compact en suite toilet & shower at the other end.  There's a power socket for laptops or mobiles.  The deluxe sleepers are popular and can sell out.  The deluxe compartments take up two window bays, a regular sleeper just one.    The Man in Seat 61 says "These upper deck deluxe compartments are worth paying the extra for as there's lots more space compared to the rather cramped lower-deck standard compartments."

Delxe sleeper in Nightjet double-deck sleeping-car   Delxe sleeper in Nightjet double-deck sleeping-car

Deluxe sleeper set up as a single, upper berth folded away.

 

En suite toilet & shower.

Standard sleeper with washbasin

These are on both the upper & lower deck, but mostly lower.  Each compartment can be used as a 2-berth or as a single-berth with the upper berth folded away.  Each compartment has a washbasin and a power socket for mobiles or laptops.  The regular sleepers on these double-deck cars are very compact, especially on the lower deck where there's limited headroom.  There are two 3-berth compartments with washbasin, one at each end of the car at normal floor level, originally 4-berth but now only sold as a 3-berth.  See the double-deck sleeping-car numbering planClick the images for larger photos.

1-berth sleeper in Nightjet double-deck sleeping-car   Nigtjet double-deck sleeper, standard 1 or 2 bed sleeper, lower deck

Standard sleeper, upper deck, set up as a single berth.  With the double row of windows, the upper compartments are nicer, but you cannot choose when booking online and the lower compartments are more numerous.  The photo above left shows the size of the floorspace.

2-berth sleeper in Nightjet double-deck sleeping-car   Stairs on double-deck Nightjet sleeper   Nigtjet double-deck sleeper, standard 1 or 2 bed type, lower deck

Standard sleeper, lower deck, set up as a double.  There are toilets at the end of the corridor.

AB33 sleeping-car

These AB33 sleeping-cars only run on the Amsterdam-Basel-Zurich Nightjet.  This train has two AB33 sleeping-cars, one Amsterdam-Basel, one Amsterdam-Zurich.  Originally built in 1975 as type T2s sleeping-cars with 17 very narrow compartments, a handful were completely rebuilt in the 1990s with 10 large compartments, each of which has 3 beds and can be sold as a single, double or triple.  Each compartment has a washbasin, there are toilets at the end of the corridor, but there are no showers or deluxe compartments in this type of sleeping-car.  The compartments convert to seats for morning or evening use.  Watch the Amsterdam-Switzerland sleeper videoSee AB33 sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan.

AB33 sleeping-car on the Amsterdam-Zurich Nightjet train

One of the two AB33 sleeping-cars on the Amsterdam-Zurich sleeper, at Amsterdam Centraal.

Single-bed sleeper on Amsterdam-Zurich train   Single-bed sleeper on Amsterdam-Zurich train

Single-bed sleeper with washbasin.  Larger photo

 

Breakfast next morning.  Larger photo.

About travel in a sleeper (all types)

Nightjet complimentary sparkling wine   Nightjet breakfast menu   Nightjet sleeper breakfast

In sleepers, a complimentary individual bottle of sparkling wine is included, as is an ŕ la carte breakfast, you pick 6 items from a breakfast menu in the evening.

Couchettes  360° photo

Couchettes are inexpensive sleeping accommodation with simple flat padded bunks in shared compartments.  They are a great choice for families, small groups of friends, or solo travellers on a budget, there's no need to pay more for a proper sleeper unless you really want to, nicer though the sleepers are.

A corridor runs along one side of the car, off which open 9 cosy compartments each configurable as either 4-berth or 6-berth.  A bunk in a 6-berth is cheaper but a bunk in a 4-berth gives much more space per person so is well worth the extra cost.

Each berth comes with a fresh clean pillow, double-sheet & blanket, and has its own reading light.   Blinds cover the window at night.  There is one toilet and one washroom at each end of the corridor.  There are compartment lighting & temperature controls above the door.

You take all your bags into the train with you, so you have access to them throughout the journey.  There's plenty of space for your luggage under the bottom bunks, on the racks above the window and in the large recess above the compartment door.  All couchette compartments have a normal lock (which can be opened from outside with a staff key) and a security chain (which can't!), so you'll be safe and snug. 

The sexes aren't generally segregated in couchettes and you don't normally fully undress to sleep, so men and women share the same compartments.  However, women travelling alone can book a berth in a ladies-only compartment, these exist in both 4-berth and 6-berth.  If your family or group have sole occupancy, there's no reason why you can't fully undress to sleep, the sheets are double, stitched at the end or side, so you can make up your berth as a bed with sheet both beneath and over you.

For the evening & morning part of the journey, couchettes convert to seats, the middle & lower bunks convert to a 3-seat sofa facing another 3-seat sofa. 

On Nightjet trains, couchette passengers get a light breakfast with tea, coffee or hot chocolate included in the fare.

I'm often asked if berths 41, 42, 45 & 46 really together in the same 4-berth couchette compartment, and yes they are, see the couchette numbering plan.

A Nightjet couchette car

An ÖBB couchette car in Nightjet colours, about to leave Innsbruck for Cologne & Dusseldorf on a summer evening.

Couchette compartment in daytime mode   6-berth couchette compartment from Koln to Wien   4-berth couchette compartment from Cologne to Vienna

A couchette compartment in daytime mode made up as seats.

 

6-berth couchettes, the most economical option.  Larger photo.

 

4-berth, ideal for families, with the blind down.  Larger photo.

Power socket in a Nightjet couchette compartment   Corridor of a Nightjet couchette car   Toilet in a Nightjet couchette car

There are 2 power sockets under the table for laptops/mobiles.

 

The couchette car corridor.

 

There's one toilet & one washroom at each end of the corridor.

Lower berths in a couchette compartment   Breakfast is included in couchettes

Each bunk has pillow, blanket & sheet, you make up the beds yourself.

 

A light breakfast is included.

Couchette compartment on Amsterdam to Switzerland Nightjet train   Couchette compartment on Amsterdam to Switzerland Nightjet train

Some Nightjet trains use former Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) couchette cars like this.  Above left, a 4 or 6 berth couchette compartment.  Larger photo.

Comfort couchettes

One comfort couchette car is now attached to certain Nightjet trains, with seven modern 4-berth couchette compartments and one modern 2-berth wheelchair-accessible compartment adjacent to a wheelchair-accessible toilet.  These are former seating cars which have been completely rebuilt with a modern interior similar to that of the New Generation Nightjet trains.  The intention is to add one of these comfort couchette cars to each Nightjet train to provide Passenger with Reduced Mobility (PRM) accommodation, although at the time of writing not all Nightjets have one of these cars.  Click the images below for larger photos.

Berths in the comfort couchette car are sold at the same price as regular 4-berth couchettes, but are much nicer.  If you book at www.oebb.at and comfort couchettes are available on that train, you will see two types of 4-berth listed, Compartment for 4 passengers and Comfort compartment for 4 passengers.  Choose the latter!

To book the 2-berth PRM compartment, use www.oebb.at, when you see 1 x adult click Change, then Passenger with disabilities.  If available, you will get the whole 2-berth PRM compartment to yourself and any travelling companion.  Berth numbers are 11 & 12.  Note that some older ex-German Railways PRM compartments may remain until all the rebuilt cars are delivered.

4-berth comfort couchette car, corridor   4-berth comfort couchette on a Nightjet   Couchette car on a Nightjet

Comfort car corridor.  Courtesy of @Simply_Railway.

 

4-berth comfort couchettes.  Courtesy of @Simply_Railway.

 

Spacious accessible 2-berth PRM compartment.  Courtesy of @fuchur

Seats cars

You'll usually also find regular seats on a Nightjet train, usually in 6-seat compartments with side corridor as shown below.  However, travelling overnight in a seat with nowhere to lie down, no attendant on duty and no lock on the compartment door, is a false economy, the equivalent of trying to save the hostel fee by sleeping on a park bench.  Always book a couchette or sleeper for a comfortable and safe journey.

6-seat compartment on a Nightjet train   Nighttjet seats car at Venice

6-seat compartment, seen from the corridor.  Larger photo.

 

Seats car on a Nightjet train.


Travel tips

  Photo showing size of deluxe City Night Line sleeper
 

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

  Food on Nightjet sleeper trains
 

Room service menu:  In sleepers & couchettes you can order from a limited menu of drinks, snacks, wine and hot dishes served in your compartment.  This is my dinner in a Comfortline sleeper on the Brussels-Vienna Nightjet with the compartment in seats mode and the table set up.  Note the real china & metal cutlery! 

For a sample menu go to www.nightjet.com & look under Travel categories then Services on the train.

  Morning in a nightjet couchette
 

Breakfast in a Nightjet couchette speeding along the Rhine towards Cologne.

Fares

How to buy tickets

Interrail & Eurail reservation fees

Sleeping-car berth numbering

Sleeper & couchette berth numbers aren't always sequential, which often worries people.  So here is the reassurance you need.

Sleeper berth numbering plan

This is a generic European sleeper berth numbering plan, to show you how the berths are numbered.

When a compartment is sold as a triple, all berth numbers are used, for example 21, 23, 25.  When sold as a double, the middle berth number isn't used, so yes, berths  21 & 25 are indeed together in the same compartment, with berth 23 not used.  When sold as a single, only the bottom berth number is used, in this example, 21.  Berths 22, 24, 26 are in the compartment next door.  In many designs of sleeper there's an inter-connecting door between compartments with berths starting with the same digit, for example, berth 21/23/25 will usually have a connecting door to 22/24/26.  The door can be opened if the occupants of each compartment undo the bolt on their side.

For an actual plan of the specific sleeping-cars used on Nightjet trains, click these links:

small bullet point  See comfortline sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan (most Nightjet routes).

small bullet point  See double-deck sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan (Hamburg-Zurich & Vienna-Zurich only).

small bullet point  See AB33 sleeping-car layout & berth numbering plan (Amsterdam-Basel/Zurich only).

Couchette car berth numbering

Couchette berth numbering plan

This is a generic European couchette car numbering plan.  When a compartment is used as a 4-berth, the middle berth numbers aren't used.  So 41, 42, 45, 46 are all together in the same 4-berth couchette compartment, with berth numbers 43 & 44 unused.


Video guideA journey by Nightjet

This video shows a journey from Cologne to Vienna by Nightjet.  Most other Nightjet trains use identical Comfortline sleeping-cars and similar couchettes, including the routes between Vienna & Rome, Munich, Salzburg & Rome, Munich & Venice, Vienna & Venice, Hamburg & Vienna.


The Nightjet story

Nightjet isn't just another train brand, it's a remarkable story.  Prior to December 2016, ÖBB Austrian Railways operated a handful of good-quality sleeper trains out of Vienna, under the generic EuroNight brand.  ÖBB believed in night trains, whilst other railways had lost faith.  In 2015, Deutsche Bahn - the goliath that is German Railways - announced it was going to pull the plug on its entire City Night Line sleeper train network from December 2016.  ÖBB took a big risk.  They bought all 42 Comfortline sleeping-cars from DB along with many of DB's couchette cars, and took over most of the City Night Line routes, including a couple that don't even serve Austria (Berlin-Zurich & Zurich-Hamburg).  The Nightjet brand was born!

ÖBB made the right decision.  ÖBB have made the network a commercial success and they're now the largest operator of sleeper trains in central Europe, punching well above their weight.  German travellers taking a sleeper train between Hamburg and Munich now travel on an Austrian train!  They have started cautiously expanding, restoring a Vienna-Berlin sleeper (and in the process brokering the restoration of a Berlin-Budapest sleeper) as well as restoring sleeper trains to Brussels and Amsterdam.  Vienna-Paris & Amsterdam-Zurich sleepers will start in December 2021, Zurich-Rome from December 2022, Berlin-Brussels and Berlin-Paris from December 2023, and even Zurich-Barcelona from December 2024.

Nightjet, the new generation

Brand new sleeper trains are now under construction by Siemens, with luxurious sleepers all featuring toilet & shower, 4-berth couchettes and innovative individual sleeping pods called Mini-Cabins.  The first new trains will be introduced on the Hamburg-Vienna and Hamburg-Munich/Innsbruck routes in December 2023.  See the Nightjet New Generation page.  Below, a new sleeping-car at the Siemens factory in Vienna.

New Nightjet train under construction
 

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