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MISC | International Night Trains

41972 Views 101 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  mistertl
A thread to discuss long-distance overnight train services, especially those running internationally.
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Does anyone know why the Sofia-Moscow train was cancelled? It provided an extra cross border train between Bucharest and Bulgaria. Now there is only 1 cross border service each way daily. A disgrace.
In fact, the issue is that at present there is no train service between Ukraine and Romania via Vadul Siret border crossing.
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In fact, the issue is that at present there is no train service between Ukraine and Romania via Vadul Siret border crossing.
That is not a good situation.
Night trains from Baltics to SPb


The new L-Ekspresis sleeper cars on tests. Photo from here

Since the Vilnius—Saint Petersburg service was cancelled this Summer, the Rīga—Saint Petersburg service (with which it was combined) had become unprofitable.

So as of today the Rīga—SPb service is diverted through Novosokolniki and combined with Rīga—Moscow and Gomel—SPb trains, making the journey 1,5 hrs longer to a total of over 17 hours. This route change has also meant that Daugavpils (Lat) and even Pskov (Rus) no longer have a direct train service to SPb.


The new route

With the cancellation of Vilnius—SPb service, there aren't any trains connecting Latvia and Lithuania.
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Austrian Railways (ÖBB) are currently exhibiting a mockup for a possible new concept for couchette car at the OeBB headquarter near Wien Hbf (Vienna main station).
It can be visited by anyone till 17th february (tuesday-friday from 12:00 till 19:00),

See
https://www.facebook.com/unsereOEBB/posts/1209259465770148
...including some photos, like this
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Just travelled Amsterdam Munich €39 one way in a couchette at very short notice (BC25 card), leaves later than last flight, arrived 10 mins early at 07:00. Not sure when I'm going back but priceslook the same. I think you would be mad to fly unless you had a morning and evening appointment in each city.
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How many people does a typical couchette or economy sleeper sleep?
Classic is 6 or 4, but most companies just fold up 2 places to convert it to a 4-people-couchette. So far, to my knowledge only the ex-Soviet and new RZD couchette cars actually are designed just for 4 and feel much more spacious. ÖBB's mockup is for 4, looks good except what the German forum colleagues mention, no real space for serious luggage.
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Classic is 6 or 4, but most companies just fold up 2 places to convert it to a 4-people-couchette. So far, to my knowledge only the ex-Soviet and new RZD couchette cars actually are designed just for 4 and feel much more spacious. ÖBB's mockup is for 4, looks good except what the German forum colleagues mention, no real space for serious luggage.
How many compartments per car, though?
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looks good except what the German forum colleagues mention, no real space for serious luggage.
Isn't that the purpose of baggage cars?
Bagage cars is a railway species that is almost extinct today...

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Some photos of the mockup exhibited by OeBB







Upper cabins:








Lower cabins:













Nachalnik
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Classic is 6 or 4, but most companies just fold up 2 places to convert it to a 4-people-couchette. So far, to my knowledge only the ex-Soviet and new RZD couchette cars actually are designed just for 4 and feel much more spacious. ÖBB's mockup is for 4, looks good except what the German forum colleagues mention, no real space for serious luggage.
I just travelld CNL AMS-MUC_AMS and all the couchettes were only bookable 5 persons now.
I was told that a group of 4 can book all 5, making it the same price as the old. The unsold bunk (on both trains it was a top one) is for luggage, although there was still bedding on it.
I didn't see and seats being offered online but I always thought they were a silly purchase, I seem to remember they were < €10 cheaper than the couchette.

I will miss the CNLs if they all go, I have used them a lot to arrive in Basel or Munich in time for work. You have to leave home later than the last flight and you arrive in the city centre long before the first one.
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ÖBB to go Ahead with International Night Train Expansion

ÖBB announced that it will go ahead with an international expansion of its night train sector. As had been reported, ÖBB wants to move into the night train sector in Germany which DB is set to abandon at the end of this year. Switzerland and Italy are the other two countries where ÖBB aims to fill the gap left behind by the disappearance of several night time connections. Initially ÖBB aims to use leased rolling stock before ordering new sleepers and couchettes. Nothing is known about their targeted routes except that they will probably start with Hamburg (or elsewhere in northern Germany)-Zürich. A train to Brussels is being debated. 8 trains for the connections to Italy alone are apparently planned. Acclaimedly an investment of 500 million Euros will be necessary, but night trains are apparently experiencing a 4 % growth rate, which ÖBB believes will increase with more restrictions on night flights and airport expansion.
http://www.drehscheibe-online.de/foren/list.php?30 (source in German)
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These are indeed very good news, especially since DB is so hard pressed on destroying its entire sleeping train network.
ÖBB announced that it will go ahead with an international expansion of its night train sector. As had been reported, ÖBB wants to move into the night train sector in Germany which DB is set to abandon at the end of this year. Switzerland and Italy are the other two countries where ÖBB aims to fill the gap left behind by the disappearance of several night time connections. Initially ÖBB aims to use leased rolling stock before ordering new sleepers and couchettes. Nothing is known about their targeted routes except that they will probably start with Hamburg (or elsewhere in northern Germany)-Zürich. A train to Brussels is being debated. 8 trains for the connections to Italy alone are apparently planned. Acclaimedly an investment of 500 million Euros will be necessary, but night trains are apparently experiencing a 4 % growth rate, which ÖBB believes will increase with more restrictions on night flights and airport expansion.
There are two things needed for this to be a success:
- The operator must make it easy to obtains tickets, on line preferably, and must make it possible to book this as part of a longer journey. So offer through tickets to places not directly served. I'm sure that OBB will get this part right.
- Something must be done about the high access charges non-incumbent operators face in some countries. I'm looking at France and Belgium here...
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Not sure at all that OeBB will ever try to come back to Belgium. Too expensive indeed, too small a market probably, and directly reachable via station Koln with two hours of Thalys.

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Not sure at all that OeBB will ever try to come back to Belgium. Too expensive indeed, too small a market probably, and directly reachable via station Koln with two hours of Thalys.
The problem are indeed the access charges, which, just like in France, make it prohibitively expensive for non-incumbents. The EU should do something about that.

But Brussels would be a good market. Especially if they time the train to have good connections with Eurostar and sell through tickets.

Changing in Köln and using Thalys has currently a few disadvantages. DB is no longer selling Thalys tickets for example, and in the last Thalys from Brussel is to early, meaning that you have to hang around Köln Hbf for over two hours late at night...
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I like the new sleeping car design, but have one remark:

Why not put the beds lengthwhise? DB did experiment with that for a while, but didn't follow up on it.
Putting the beds lengthwise on both sides of the corridor the beds could be a bit longer. Especially taller people are increasingly finding air travel unbearable and would be a good market to target...
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