Capsule sleepers will revolutionize train travel in Europe

Capsule sleepers will revolutionize train travel in Europe

(CNN) — As the European rail revolution continues, one of its key players has decided to introduce an improved 24/7 service.

Austrian state railway company ÖBB, which has led the revival of night services in recent years, has taken delivery of a new fleet of 33 night trains, which will debut in December 2023.

Among all the service improvements, one thing stands out: the new trains focus on individual passengers as they include individual “pod” or “capsule” type sleepers in addition to standard sleepers and sleeping cars.

Double to single bunk beds with bathroom

Single beds provide privacy in the dormitory setting. Credit: ÖBB

The seven-coach trains have a capacity of 254 passengers each and have two seating cars, three berths and two sleeping cars.

They seem to be a marked improvement over the traditionally spartan sleeper trains. In sleeping cars, all compartments have their own bathroom, including a shower.

The beds will be fixed, which will make ÖBB more comfortable for them. There’s plenty of room for bulky luggage, including sports equipment, strollers and six bike spaces.

Passengers can choose either Comfort Plus or Comfort Spaces (the latter is slightly more spacious) en-suite cabins for two (in bunk beds).

Two bunk beds are the closest thing to a hotel on wheels. Credit: ÖBB

Bunk beds have four beds in each compartment, but no bathroom facilities.

Four-bed beds are a good solution for families. Credit: ÖBB

A real innovation are the “minicabins,” sleeping cars with individual “capsule”-style beds stacked on top of each other in two tiers, like a bedroom where each person can enclose their own private space.

Separate mini cabins allow passengers to be isolated from others in a dormitory-style cabin. Credit: ÖBB

Solo travelers will have privacy and a small but functional space, with a folding breakfast table with mirror, reading lamp, storage area and lockers for shoes and handbags.

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Each train will accommodate two wheelchair users and two additional passengers, with an accessible toilet.

Traveling by train is the future

“The new trains make it clear that the future of short- and medium-distance travel belongs to the train,” said Austria’s Climate Action Minister Leonor Küssler.

“Using the train means protecting the climate. This is especially true for night trains. That is why we are working together to continue expanding the European night train network,” he said in a statement.

“Getting off at night in Vienna and waking up the next morning refreshed in another European metropolis…will be even easier and more convenient in the future.”

These trains are approved for use in Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands. They are scheduled to enter service on the Vienna-Hamburg and Innsbruck-Hamburg routes on December 10. Tickets will go on sale on October 11.

ÖBB, which celebrates its centenary this year, now has the largest fleet of sleeper trains in Europe, running across the continent.

Arzu Daniel

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