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  • Night train
  • Germany
  • Czech Republic
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Featured journeys with this train

Travelling on a City Night Line train

Travel by night in air-conditioned City Night Line (CNL) services between major European cities. Night trains are a good way of saving on hotel costs and maximising time at your destination. Whether you are travelling alone, as a couple or with friends and family, City Night Line services, operated mainly by Deutsche Bahn (DB), cater to both leisure and business travellers. However, DB has not invested in new carriages, and some of the trains are now showing their age. So CNL as a brand will disappear in December 2016, with many routes being taken over by Austrian Railways (ÖBB) who have a rapidly expanding Nightjet network. ÖBB promise big investments in modern sleeping cars and couchettes, which will surely bring a new lease of life to European night trains.

City Night Line services run to Basel, Berlin, Bologna, Florence, Hamburg, Milan, Munich, Rome, Venice and Zurich and are thus ideal for snoozing your way across Europe by night. On many routes you can take your bicycle or winter sports equipment.

Take to the stars and travel on City Night Line trains bearing names like Perseus, Pegasus, Aurora and Sirius. Book adjacent Sleeper compartments with inter-connecting doors for extra berths and space (a combination of Economy and Deluxe compartments is possible on some trains). For those travelling in Sleeper accommodation, breakfast will be served in their compartment.

Seating and sleeping on City Night Line

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Standard Seat

Some CNL trains convey older day-train carriages that have regular seated accommodation in six-seat compartments. Other routes have seats in air-conditioned open-plan carriages. If at all possible, opt for at least a couchette. The extra comfort and the promise of a good night’s rest means that the upgrade is money well spent. Where a City Night Line train coveys seated accommodation, those carriages have an IC train number (rather than a CNL prefix).

Food and drink on City Night Line

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Train attendant

Sad but true: there is no longer a restaurant car on City Night Line trains. Go prepared and have supper before boarding the train – or take a hamper and bottle of wine on board. The train attendant in sleeping cars will usually sell snacks and drinks (including beer). Travellers in seats and couchettes may also purchase refreshments from sleeping car staff (including breakfast).

Image credits: Hugh Llewelyn

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