škoda 2024

Presentation of the new nightjet

updated on 28th Nov 2023 14:32 posted on 27th Nov 2023 11:25

The first Siemens-built Viaggio Next Level non-traction multilple units (NMUs) are scheduled to enter service in Austria and Germany on 10 December 2023 (initially, the new NMUs were expected to start operations from December 2022).

ÖBB's new night service flagship has been presented to the public in recent months. This first happened at the start of ÖBB's 100th anniversary celebrations, when a complete seven-car NMU was on display for the first time at the (remaining) Nordwestbahnhof station in Wien on 30 September 2023 (it was brought to one of the non-electrified tracks by Herkules 2016 025).

For the first time, visitors were also able to see the interior of the Class Bfmpz driving trailer and the adjacent Class ABbmpvz multi-purpose coach with low-floor and equipment for immobile passengers, as until now only the sleeper and couchette cars of the new nightjets had been presented to the public, for the first time just a year ago, also in September, at the Siemens plant in Wien-Simmering.

On 13 November 2023, the premiere two-day nightjet circualr tour of Austria was launched by ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä and Climate Change Minister Leonore Gewessler at Wien Hbf, from Wien to Bregenz and retour (Wien - St. Pölten - Linz - Salzburg - Innsbruck - Bregenz - Klagenfurt - Graz - Wien), visiting eight out of nine federal states.

We can add to the approval that the deadline for the submission of objections by the NSAs to ERA, which were not lodged, expired on 29 September 2023. From the start of the 2024 timetable on 10 December, ÖBB is to have five nightjet NMUs available to replace the existing locomotive-hauled trains on the Innsbruck - Hamburg NJ 40420/40491 and Wien - Hamburg NJ 490/491 service. However, this also means that the (three) car-carriers will no longer be incorported on the Innsbruck - Hamburg night service. In the first half of 2024, the Wien - Bregenz line within Austria will also be converted to the new generation of nightjet trains.

We asked ÖBB:
1) The ERA approval for Austria and Germany was issued on which date? And was it issued for any other countries, for example Italy? If not, when do you expect this to happen?
ÖBB answered: "On 24 November 2023, The European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) marked a significant milestone by formally authorising the first batch of new generation sleeper trains, which are being built by Siemens Mobility. These trains represent the first new design of sleeper trains in Europe, signalling a long-awaited departure from decades of stagnation in sleeper train development. The Vehicle Authorisation concerns 10 vehicle types representing 10 different coaches from Siemens Mobility. The authorisation granted allows operation in DACHI area (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy) for day and night traffic, and the different vehicle types are each authorised as individual vehicles within predefined train formations."

2) For hauling the new nightjet NMUs still only Tauruses will be used? Not Vectrons?
"ÖBB will use the Tauruses only."

3) On the NJ 40420/40491 Innsbruck - Hamburg service the three car-carriers will not be offered from 10 December 2023. What is the reason? Is it because the car-carriers cannot be included in a complete nightjet NMU between the locomotive and the end car? Or is it because the shunting at the terminals would be more demanding than it is now with conventional locomotive-hauled rakes? And does it mean that with the addition of non-traction units on every other nightjet service, car-carriers will end there?
ÖBB explained: "The reason is that the trains on line from Austria to Hamburg will now consist of 2x 7 carriages, so that with 14 carriages the maximum train length set by the infrastructure parameters will be reached. ÖBB plans to convert the domestic NJ 446/447 Wien - Bregenz service to nightjet units during the first half of 2024 and the car-carriers on this service will be retained."

We can add that until now the Innsbruck - Hamburg and Wien - Hamburg nightjets are interchanged at Nürnberg Hbf, from where the train to Hamburg (and back) is formed by a four-carriage Wien - Hamburg group, a four-carriage Innsbruck - Hamburg group and a group of three car-carriers Innsbruck - Hamburg (the Vienna wing also includes coaches to/from Amsterdam, as does the Innsbruck wing). Now the rake runnning between Nürnberg and Hamburg will be formed by 14 coaches (2x 7 Viaggio nightjets) instead of eight, so the car-carriers have to be cancelled. The existing services from Austria to Amsterdam will be maintained by coupling the direct coaches from Innsbruck and Wien at the end of the respective Viaggio nightjet unit.

ÖBB is planning to convert the domestic NJ 446/447 Wien - Bregenz service to NMUs during the first half of 2024 and to keep the car-carriers on this line; currently the trains consist of six passenger/overnight coaches and three car-carriers.

In total, ÖBB now has 33 seven-car Viaggio Next Level units on order for night services, to be delivered by 2025: a first 13-strong batch was ordered in August 2018, followed by a 20-strong option confirmed in August 2021.


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