Night Trains working group and TopRail convene in Vienna (UIC-International Union Of Railways)

  • Posted On: 25 October 2023

The TopRail working group, focusing on rail tourism, and the Night Trains working group came together for productive meetings hosted by ÖBB on 3 October in Vienna. Several significant topics were on the agenda, fostering meaningful discussions and knowledge exchange.

Insights from the Night Trains working group:

Among the highlights of the Night Trains working group discussions were:

1. Stadler’s expertise: A presentation on Stadler, a renowned Swiss train manufacturer with a rich heritage spanning decades and characterised by its commitment to innovation, precision engineering and sustainable mobility solutions. Stadler’s remarkable expertise in designing comfortable and efficient sleeping accommodation for night train passengers was emphasised.
2. SJ Euronight service: An in-depth look into the business and operation of the SJ Euronight service, which connects Stockholm and Berlin. This service travels through several major cities, including Stockholm, Linköping, Malmö, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Berlin. The collaborative nature of this route, with the involvement of multiple entities, underscores the significance of modern European rail travel, offering a compelling solution to meet the evolving demands of today’s travellers.

Simultaneous activities of the TopRail working group:

While the Night Trains working group was engaged in discussions, the TopRail working group also had an active meeting. An interesting exercise was organised for participants as part of a study on tourist railway experiences, initiated to propose an IRS TopRail categorisation label. The primary objective was to gain a deeper understanding of the specific requirements for heritage trains and to explore the necessary verification methods to obtain this esteemed label. This exercise enabled a valuable comparison of approaches adopted in different countries.

During a round-table discussion, key players such as Renfe, SBB, CFF, FFS and FGG congratulated each other on the remarkable success of summer rail travel. France, in particular, is anticipating the launch of “Le Grand Tour” next summer, and the events organised by the SNCF during the European Heritage Days received substantial acclaim for their impact and success.

These fruitful meetings and discussions in Vienna provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of rail tourism and the continuing commitment to enhancing the rail travel experience across Europe. We look forward to further collaboration and shared progress in this dynamic industry.

Thanks to the warm hospitality of ÖBB, the two workshops had the opportunity to convene working groups focused on Night Trains and TopRail - Fostering Rail Tourism. The gathering was an excellent opportunity to delve into the world of night trains and rail tourism, and to explore the innovative features of the new Nightjet night train.

In the technical centre, participants had the privilege of visiting one of the 33 new Nightjet night trains. This experience allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of the cutting-edge features incorporated into this new generation of night trains.

The train, designed to accommodate 254 passengers, provides a wide range of travel options, including sleeper cabins with various comfort levels, mini cabins and comfortable couchettes. The sleeper cabins, in particular, offer a high level of comfort for travellers.

The train also boasts a multifunctional area with a low-floor entrance, making it easily accessible to all passengers. Furthermore, the train has designated spaces for up to six bicycles, ensuring that cyclists can easily transport their bikes. Additionally, there is ample room for luggage, strollers, skis and snowboards, catering to the diverse needs of passengers.

This exploration of the new Nightjet night train, combined with discussions about night trains and rail tourism, was an enriching experience, shedding light on the exciting developments in the world of rail travel. We look forward to further discussions and opportunities for collaboration in this dynamic field.

Following these meetings and visits, the participants went on to attend the World Passenger Festival in Vienna, which was held from 3 to 5 October.
The next meeting will be a joint one with the two groups.

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