In the sleeping car to Paris

Austria’s railways ordered new “Nightjets” for 500 million euros. Railway boss Matthä wants to expand the leading position in night train traffic in Europe.

Premiere trip to Brussels: Railway boss Andreas Matthä and SNCB boss Sophie Dutordoir and Francois Bellot, Transport Minister of Belgium, inaugurated the “Nightjet” at the beginning of the year - now it is also supposed to go to Paris.

Mith daring, skill and a little luck, the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) have fought for the top position in Europe in a small but interesting segment of travel: night train services. The climate debate has “boosted the topic again properly”, says ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä in an interview with the FAZ. The Austrian state railway now wants to invest heavily in order to keep the market share above the 50 percent mark. The order for 20 new night trains will be put out to tender in the coming months. “That will be an investment of around 500 million euros. At the end of 2024, the route network will be expanded significantly, he says. “Then I can realize my dream of going to Paris.” Later maybe from Berlin to Paris – a route that has only been served by the Russian state railway since 2014, coming from Moscow once a week.

Matthä combines this with an invitation to neighboring railways: “I would be delighted if the Swiss and also the German colleagues here would cooperate with us. Because our night train networks will need a hub in Zurich and, if you think a little further, one in Berlin too. ”There have been talks. He suggests that this is easier with the Swiss Federal Railways than with the DB. “We would especially like to join hands with our Swiss colleagues beforehand.”