• The OBB "NightJet" Gambit

  • Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.
Discussion about railroad topics everywhere outside of North America.

Moderators: Komachi, David Benton

  by Gilbert B Norman
The NightJet gambit just might pay off for OBB after all.

While a 16yo kid has certainly helped the cause, there may have been method to their, what I thought, was madness by the OBB's "Oberfuhrers", and hope they enjoyed their Gruner Veiltliner while dining at Sacher in Vienna.

First, let's consider where Europe wants to go with passenger rail. That is HSR. But it seems as if the systems are all built to lead to each country's Capital. In France, they all lead to Paris, or in Italy, Rome. (Germany not quite as pronounced because of her postwar division, and the decision to locate such in "where's that" Bonn, rather than Frankfurt/Main or Munich - both in the heart of something the people wanted to forget).

But, even if occupied postwar by the "four powers" until '55, Austria's Capital was and is Vienna - and to the far East in the country. Also, Austria has an almost 400 mile (Feldkirch - Vienna) line haul within its borders, and only H(er)SR (220kmh). I doubt if true HSR is planned there.

So, with the French (SNCF) and German (DB) looking for the exits with their "Night Trains", fully compatible, and not really old, equipment was there for the "almost taking". A "cute" marketing name and some Blue paint was all they needed. With the 400 mile E-W line haul noted, most of a line such as Zurich-Vienna goes to the OBB.

So, with a some help from their "little Swedish girlfriend", maybe OBB will make that "silk purse from a sow's ear".
  by Gilbert B Norman
Couchette? Please, Mr. Benton. I'm not a college kid anymore!

The "Oberfuhrers" are marketing their product, heavy on Couchettes, to that market.

I honestly don't know if I'm ever going over again. Earliest opportunity would be '22 - when I'm 81yo.

But before the "lockdown" during Spring '20, when I booked and paid for a $3200 ORD-MUC ticket (now a United Travel Certificate good anywhere they fly through Apr '22), I did consider two nights of my six to ride Night Jet to and from Rome from Munich (park my bag at MUC). I was last in Rome during '71.

But then, the thoughts of two nights in a bunk, possibly in a shared accommodation, being "homeless in Rome" for a day, instead of my very familiar Four-Star Salzburg hotel (Pitter; lest anyone wonder), and I said "forget it".

But, my '22, assuming everything is lifted by then (I get VAX-2 this coming Wednesday Mar 3), and further assuming my Doctor will allow, my final overseas journey could be Australia, where my Niece resides in the Sydney area.
  by David Benton
Sydney, despite been Aussie,s biggest city, seems to be the least affected city by covid-19. By good luck, or good management , I don't know. Hopefully, they are open to america by 2023
  by Gilbert B Norman
Based on my observation of a Nightjet at Innsbruck during August, it appears their market is concentrated on Second Class Couchettes and seating compartments.

https://www.nightjet.com/en/reiseziele/ ... /innsbruck

Ring up the Hamburg-Innsbruck NJ 40491. I observed the inbound consist at Innsbruck last Saturday Aug 20. While they pulled the four auto carriers before I could take a photo of them, they were bi (not tri; which I've never seen over there) levels carrying eight autos each much as depicted at the linked site. The absence of any protective siding would concern me. Of course, since all but one car in the train were Second Class, seats or Couchettes, the autos were more likely Skodas (a Czech make now owned by VW) than Bennies.
  by David Benton
Skoda have become a mainstream brand now. Not sure what a Bennie is , probably not known outside the USA.
Good to hear they have well patronised auto trains, but itis great to know they have affordable overnight trains coming back .
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Benton, years ago when my age more resembled the median age of the Members at this site, Bennie was an accepted "nickname" for Mercedes Benz.

However, such no longer appears to be the case.

Bennie today is the name of a Nigerian designed and built sports car.

The Skoda auto is not sold here in "the States", but interesting to learn it is sold in your parts. When I was "over there" during August, I couldn't walk down a "strasse" (street) in Salzburg without observing one either parked or in the traffic. Same for the two "day trips" I made; Bolzano and Munich.

But the most interesting auto sighting I had was of that tiny auto referred to as a "Smart Car". I actually noted one of such in Munich - with Mercedes Benz labels!!!. Had it not been occupied, I would have taken a photo of such.
  by gt7348b
Mr. Norman - you might be surprised that the SmartCar was sold in the US. I was once passed by one on I-285 in Atlanta (and I'm sure you're aware the average speeds on that roadway are well north of the posted speed limit).

Back on topic - I'm glad OBB is filling this market. I was sad to learn that the Brussels/Berlin/Warsaw train had been discontinued as it meant getting some sleep and avoiding the torturous trip to Zaventum from the European Quarter in Brussels.
  by Gilbert B Norman
gt7348b wrote: Mon Sep 12, 2022 8:26 am Mr. Norman - you might be surprised that the SmartCar was sold in the US. I was once passed by one on I-285 in Atlanta (and I'm sure you're aware the average speeds on that roadway are well north of the posted speed limit).
YES Mr. GT!!!

I do go down there enough to be quite aware of that little "fact of life" :P :P

You wouldn't catch me dead in one of those - especially down there.

So to topic; I am still astounded af the apparent public acceptance of the Night Jet product. Since it appears to be expanding to anywhere on the Continent with Standard Gauge, I must wonder if operators such as SNCF and DB are starting to think they pulled the plug too quickly.

On this trip, I came close to riding a NightJet. This would have been Salzburg to Munich Ost (Airport S-Bahn connection). I had an unrestricted 2nd Class ticket so I could have. With airport staffing concerns, as well as with the War making it time again for "Papiere bitte" at the German border, figured more time should be allowed to get to the flight. On my own, I woke up at 400A, rather than the 5A wake up I'd asked for. I just wanted to get moving. While I was waiting for my Antigen COVID test results that were Negative, I looked at OBB's site to see what was scheduled. Sure enough, there was an NJ running a bit late marked for 545A. I still had to check out and walk the 800m to the station. Alas though, and within sight of the tracks, there goes the NightJet, so it was a 605A Bayern Regional.

Finally, got to EDDM at about 815A for the 1130A flight.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Benton, "Retired don't cut it" with Railway Gazette.

While I had my eleven year career with the MILW, I had a subsequent thirty five year career as a CPA (Chartered Accountant), but I'll take your word that the OBB "Oberfuhrers" seem to be making this gambit pay off.

But the photo at Gazette's site sure suggests the Couchette trade is what it's all about.

Meantime, from my observations at both Innsbruck and Salzburg (guess you could say "a one that got away") so far look to me as nothing more than some Blue paint over what once were SNCF "Voiture Lit" and DB "s "Schlaffwagons".

Of the inbound nine car NJ consist I observed at Innsbruck, only one car was First Class. That is the only class that a business traveler (or for that matter, me), that now-young Swedish woman shamed off Ryanair or EasyJet would consider.