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Passenger numbers are rising: night trains in Germany delight Austrian railways


TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates

Vienna / Berlin (dpa) - Two years after the takeover of the night trains of Deutsche Bahn increase the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) their passenger numbers in the night.

After 1.4 million passengers across Europe in 2017, it was 1.6 million in the past year, according to reports from ÖBB to the German Press Agency.

The company wants to bring even more passengers to their destination in their sleep and expands their offerings in Germany. Since December, the "Nightjets" have also been traveling between Vienna and Berlin - two cities that have since been connecting directly to one another during the daytime. In addition, new night trains were ordered.

"We are convinced two years after taking over the night train traffic to have made the right decision," emphasized ÖBB spokesman Bernhard Rieder. "We were able to expand the routes to Germany twice in a row."

Passenger numbers for individual routes and countries are not mentioned by the ÖBB for competitive reasons. Before the takeover of the railway business in Germany, however, only one million passengers had risen in ÖBB's return trains in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. For 2017 to 2019, a total of 1.8 million additional passengers were targeted.

At the end of 2016, Deutsche Bahn had completely discontinued the City Night Line, its trains with sleeper and couchette cars. With 90 million annual sales of the federally owned group had made the City Night Line last 30 million euros loss.

For this purpose, ÖBB set up two new nightjet connections from Germany to Austria, one to Switzerland and three to Italy. There were already connections from Hamburg and Dusseldorf to Vienna.

This halved the number of night trains offered in Germany because the Austrians concentrated on the routes for which they saw a market.

As early as 2017, ÖBB increased the share of revenue generated by night trains from 17 to 20 percent and spoke of a profitable business. Overall, the overall workload will be satisfied in 2018, said Rieder. In months like November or January there is still potential. "Particularly successful are the routes from Munich and Vienna to Rome, but also the line Zurich - Hamburg."

The Austrians had also taken over 42 sleeping cars of Deutsche Bahn, some of which have already been around for several decades. They worked well in the field, said Rieder. From April on, however, 13 new night trains will be built, and by the end of 2022 they will all be in service.

Line Network Nightjet (pdf)

Source: zeit

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