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

All aboard!  Nightjet is the name for Austrian Railways sleeper trains, linking Austria, Germany, Italy & Switzerland...

Buy Nightjet tickets
www.thetrainline.com (in €, Ł, $)

Booking opens up to 6 months ahead.

You print your own ticket.

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  Watch the video:  A journey by Nightjet

small bullet point  The Nightjet story and the new generation Nightjets

Nightjet routes

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

small bullet point  Brussels - Linz, 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 planned for 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'!


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.  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.  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)

  A few complimentary goodies on a Nightjet train

Sleeper passengers are welcomed with a small goody-bag with water, soap, disposable slippers, snack & mini-bottle of sparkling wine...

  Nightjet breakfast order form

In the evening, fill in the form to select the breakfast items you'd like.  6 items are free, more can be paid for.


All sleeper passengers get a complimentary light breakfast with tea or coffee.

  • Berths are sold individually, one person = one ticket = one bed.

    If you book 2 people in a double sleeper, you get the whole compartment as you are booking both beds and gender is irrelevant.  If you book 1 person in a double sleeper you'll get one bed and the other bed will be sold to another passenger of the same gender.  Passengers have shared sleeper compartments in this way for over 100 years!  It means that solo travellers don't have to pay for an expensive single-bed sleeper if they don't want to, they can pay for one bed in a 2 or 3-bed sleeper and share with other civilised sleeper passengers of the same sex.  Once snug in your berth you cannot see the people above or below you, giving you all the privacy you need.

  • Boarding the train

    There's no check-in, just go to the train and find your sleeping-car.  The sleeping-car attendant normally greets you at the door to the sleeper, checks your reservation and directs you to your compartment.  He or she will come round shortly afterwards to take your rail tickets or passes so you will not be disturbed by ticket inspections.  Your tickets will be handed back to you at the end of your journey.  These days they don't normally take your passport, as Schengen means there are usually no border checks.

    Each sleeper compartment is cosy, big enough for a bed and space to stand next to it.  There are 12 compartments in a 26-metre Comfortline car, so please don't expect to play tennis in your compartment, it is simply not economic to transport excess empty space around.  The photos above were taken standing in the corridor & pointing the camera through the door into the compartment, they accurately show the size of the compartment.  What you see is what you get...

    Each bed has fresh clean sheets, a fluffy pillow, snug duvet, and its own individual reading light.

  • Welcome aboard!

    A complimentary glass of sparkling wine is included to welcome you aboard.  The sleeper attendant can provide room service of tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks & light snacks during the journey, but feel free to take your own bottle of wine or picnic on board.

  • Breakfast

    Breakfast is included in the fare, served in your compartment - in the evening you fill in a form to select 6 breakfast items from a list.  You can pay for more items if you like.  Tip:  You can ask for a free refill of tea or coffee!  For a sample breakfast menu go to www.nightjet.com & look under Travel categories then Services on the train.

  • Luggage

    You take all your bags into the compartment with you, so have access to them throughout the journey.  In Comfortline sleepers there's room for luggage under the bottom berth, on the racks above the window or in the recess above the door projecting over the corridor ceiling.  Or just use the floor if that's easier.  In the double deck sleepers, luggage usually goes on the floor.

  • Power sockets, WiFi

    In Comfortline & AB33 type sleepers, all compartments have 220V power sockets for laptop computers & mobiles - in Comfortline sleepers, look below the bed at the end nearest the door.

    However, there are no power outlets in double-deck sleeping-cars.

    There was originally no WiFi on Nightjet trains, but in 2021 the first sleeping-car was fitted with WiFi and it is gradually being rolled out.

  • Beds convert to seats

    On longer routes where there's a significant evening or morning part of the journey, the attendant can fold the beds away and convert the compartment into a private sitting room with sofa and small table.

  • Security

    There's CCTV in the corridor for security, and in Comfortline cars all compartments have a hotel-style ving-card lock with plastic card key plus an additional security deadlock which cannot be opened from outside, even with a staff key, so you'll be both safe and snug.  The double-deck cars also have both a regular lock and a security deadlock.

  • Connecting doors between compartments

    If there's a small group of you in a Comfortline car, ask to book a pair of adjacent sleeper compartments with an inter-connecting door, which opens to make a suite for 2 to 6 persons.  There are regular sleepers which connect with regular sleepers, and each deluxe sleeper can be connected to a regular sleeper, although you cannot connect a deluxe to another deluxe - as you can see for yourself on the Comfortline floorplan.

  • The sleeper attendant, the in-sleeper catering and bed linen on Nightjets are provided by a company called Newrest on behalf of Austrian Railways (ÖBB).  Newrest is a subsidiary of the famous Wagons-Lits Company.  That's right, the company that used to operate the Orient Express from 1883 until 1977, they still exist!  Albeit in much reduced form, and as a contractor not a concessionaire...

  • Don't forget to read the travel tips...

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...

  • Don't worry that your ticket doesn't show all passengers' names as names aren't important.  Just one name is enough to prove that a self-print ticket is yours, however many people it is for.

  • Berth numbering:  Berths aren't numbered sequentially, which often worries people.  I'm often asked if (for example) berths 21 & 25 are together in the same 2-bed sleeper compartment, or 41, 42, 45 & 46 really together in the same 4-berth couchette!  Yes they are, see sleeper & couchette berth numbering.

  • Dinner on board:  In sleepers & couchettes there is a simple room service menu with a good but limited selection of wine, beer, soft drinks, snacks and hot dishes.  These can be served by the attendant in your compartment.  The hot dishes are microwaved, but tasty and served on proper china with metal cutlery.  In a sleeper, just push the attendant call button!  For a sample menu go to www.nightjet.com & look under Travel categories then Services on the train

  • Dinner before you board?  

    There's no restaurant car on Nightjet trains, so have dinner before you board or feel free to take a picnic & bottle of wine with you into your sleeper or couchette!  A decent meal is a good way to fill time between a day's sightseeing and a late night sleeper train departure.

    In Amsterdam, I recommend the Cafe 1e Klas on platform 2, see here for more information.

    In Munich, there are restaurants inside the station, but I recommend the Augustiner Keller (www.augustinerkeller.de) at Arnulfstrasse 52, to the north side of Munich Hbf for great Bavarian food & beer.  See walking map.

    In Cologne, I recommend the Brauhaus Sion (www.brauhaus-sion.de) 5 minutes walk from Cologne Hbf, or the Malzmuehle restaurant (www.muehlenkoelsch.de) 10-15 minutes walk away.  Inside Cologne Hbf itself, the best of the bunch is arguably the Schweinske (www.schweinske.de).

    In Innsbruck, try the Stiftskeller (www.stiftskeller.eu), a restaurant & beer hall in the heart of Innsbruck's old town, a 1.1 km 13 minute walk from the station, see walking map.

    In Basel, for traditional Swiss fare try the Restaurant Steinbock (www.restaurantsteinbock.ch), across the road (and 200m to the right) from Basel SBB.

    In Zurich, for schnitzel & fries and a beer I recommend the Brasserie Federal on the main concourse, www.brasserie-federal.ch.  For upmarket dining with great reviews try Da Capo, www.restaurant-dacapo.ch in a corner of the old station building.

  • Where to wait for your train

    At Vienna Hbf, Salzburg & Innsbruck passengers with tickets for any type of sleeper (meaning sleeper, not couchettes) can use the ÖBB Lounge for up to 1˝ hours before departure or 1˝ hours after arrival, with free WiFi & complimentary tea, coffee, beer & snacks. 

    In Amsterdam, the Cafe 1e Klas on platform 2 makes a great VIP waiting room, see here for more information.

    In Brussels, the Pullman Hotel bar makes a great VIP waiting room, it's an integral part of the station, see here for more information.

    There is now no lounge in Zurich or Basel.  As all Nightjet tickets are technically 2nd class, even for deluxe sleepers, you can't use the 1st class DB Lounges at German stations or the NS International lounge at Amsterdam.

  • Where to stand on the platform:  Nightjets are often long trains with cars bound for multiple destinations.  There's usually a train composition poster in a display case somewhere on the platform which shows the formation of the train and where each car will be when the train arrives.  If you're in car 462 and that car is shown on the plan as stopping in 'sector E' go and stand next to the big 'E' sign hanging from the platform canopy.  This saves running up and down looking for your car like a headless chicken.

  • Information on your train formation & its carriages...  You can check the consist for each Nightjet train, check the car numbers and see in what order cars for different destinations are marshalled in your train using the excellent Vagonweb site, www.vagonweb.cz.  Change cs to English upper left, then click Train formations, scroll down to Austria or Germany (or Italy, etc.) and click nj for Nightjet.

  • Rhine Valley in the moonlight?  The Nightjet trains between Amsterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Vienna, Munich, Innsbruck take the wonderful Rhine Valley line between Koblenz & Mainz, passing mountains, river boats, castles, vineyards and the legendary Lorelei Rock - although recent timetable changes mean the train now runs along the Rhine later in the evening southbound, earlier in the morning northbound, than it used to.  The train passes the scenic Rhine section approximately 23:46-00:39 on left hand side going southbound, 04:18-05:11 on right hand side going northbound.  History (or film) buffs might also like to know that the train passes what's left of the Bridge at Remagen.

  • Station guides:  Vienna Hbf, Innsbruck Hbf, Cologne Hbf, Berlin Hbf, Munich Hbf, Hamburg Hbf, Amsterdam Centraal, Brussels Midi, Zurich HB, Rome Termini, Florence SMN, Venice Santa Lucia, Milan Porta Garibaldi.

  • Cooked breakfast at a local hotel?  If you feel like a more extensive cooked breakfast when you arrive, walk into any major hotel near your arrival station.  Most hotels will let you pay for their breakfast buffet, even if you're not staying there (or if you are staying there, but didn't stay there the previous night as you were on a sleeper!).

  • Checking in to your hotel:  You can check into your hotel if you arrive in the morning, even if your room isn't ready yet.  Hotels will almost always look after your bags for free until your room is ready, and will look after them after you check out if you are catching a sleeper train that evening.  If the hotel isn't busy, you can sometimes negotiate a late checkout.  It doesn't hurt to ask!

  • You can find and download the Nightjet brochure with route map and timetable at the ÖBB Nightjet website www.nightjet.com.


  • Fares start at €49 with a couchette in 6-berth, €59 with a couchette in 4-berth, €89 with a bed in a 2-bed sleeper or €129 with a single-bed sleeper all to yourself.  Fares are dynamic, so book early as they rise as departure date approaches and the cheaper tickets are sold.

  • Family fare for a whole private couchette compartment:  A family or small group of 1 or 2 adults and 1-4 children can book a whole private 4 or 6 berth couchette compartment for a flat rate of around €199 on Nightjet routes.  Only available if you book at www.oebb.at.  But also check regular fares at int.bahn.de to check what's cheapest.

  • With a Eurail or Interrail pass, you can travel on a Nightjet by paying the following reservation fees:  Seat €14, couchette in 6-berth €34, couchette in 4-berth €44, bed in 3-berth sleeper €54, bed in 2-berth sleeper €74, bed in single-berth sleeper €124, berth in 2-berth deluxe sleeper €94, berth in single-berth deluxe sleeper €144.  Passholder reservations can be made online at the Austrian Railways (ÖBB) website following the instructions here.

How to buy tickets

  • Buy tickets at www.thetrainline.com:  It's easy to buy tickets for most Nightjet routes at www.thetrainline.com, in €, Ł or $, overseas credit cards no problem, small booking fee.  You simply print your own ticket.  www.thetrainline.com will book most Nightjet routes.

  • Buy tickets at www.oebb.at:  You can also book all Nightjet trains at the Austrian Railways website www.oebb.at, in €, a little more fiddly, it's been known to reject some overseas credit cards, but no fee.

  • Buy tickets to/from Amsterdam at the www.nsinternational.nl, in €, no fee.  This is the Dutch Railways international website.

  • Booking for Nightjet trains opens up to 6 months ahead, although the booking horizon can be shorter than this, especially for dates after a timetable change on the 2nd Saturday in June and the 2nd Saturday in December.  More about when booking opens.

  • Interrail & Eurail passholder reservations for Nightjet trains can be made at the Austrian Railways (ÖBB) website following the instructions here.

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, and the author was delighted to be invited to the factory in Vienna when the first new cars were revealed to the press.  The first 13 7-car sets are due in service in the second half of 2023 on routes from Vienna & Munich to Italy with another 20 7-car sets to be delivered for other routes after that.  The new trains consist of 7 car sets:  2 sleepers (each with 10 compartments, all with en suite shower & toilet), 3 couchette cars (with 3 x 4-berth compartments and 28 x innovative sole-occupancy capsules or 'minisuites'), 1 multi-purpose car (with low-floor entry, an accessible couchette compartment & accessible toilet, some seating), and 1 seats car.  For more information on these new trains, see this page on www.nightjet.com.

New Nightjet train under construction

New sleeping-car at the Siemens factory in Vienna.  The author was present when the first new cars were shown to the press.

1 or 2 bed sleeper on new generation nightjet   Individual 'minisuites' on new generation nightjet

1 or 2 bed sleeper on new Nightjet train.


Individual 'minisuites' on new generation Nightjet.

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