Swiss and Austrian rail operators have announced a major ramp-up of overnight Nightjet sleeper trains serving Switzerland, with four new routes opening starting next year, bringing the total to ten.
The new routes, serving a number of Swiss cities, especially Zurich and Basel, are part of a continuing revival of sleeping-car service in Europe that has been fueled by a combination of convenience and environment consciousness over the past few years.
The success and growth has been a big win for Austrian rail operator ÖBB, which has invested heavily in the service since taking over routes from Germany's DB, which made a bad guess on the viability of the service. In additon to opening new routes, ÖBB has now begun to roll out new trains, replacing 1970s and 80s-era cars. The Covid pandemic has only made sleepers, with their private compartments, more popular.
The Swiss expansion is being financed in part by the Swiss Climate Fund, which is concerned to reduce short-haul flying.
Image: Nightjet's expanding route map