Normally, when it comes to night trains, we would not recommend readers travelling on business to book couchette accommodation.
The exception might be on routes where a night train has no sleeping cars. And then we would strongly advise you book all berths (in the compartment) for sole use.
I say this because each couchette compartment can accommodate as many as six travellers.
One example is the Paris-Nice night train which SNCF revived last May. This once prestigious service now only takes couchette cars since SNCF retired its sleeper fleet years ago.
Indeed in our report above you can see France’s PM Jean Castex (who was onboard the inaugural service) preparing his couchette berth for the night.
However Alain Krakovitch, a director of the SNCF Group, tweeted images of his company’s couchettes which are in the process of being refurbished.
Dernière semaine des congés…
Peut-être avez-vous voyagé cet été dans une de nos toutes premières rames rénovées de trains de nuit @Intercites ?
Financées par l’Etat, ces rénovations de rames offrent un confort plus…actuel, des rangements pratiques, une lumière zen… pic.twitter.com/huvUhUfD5e
— Alain Krakovitch (@alainkrakovitch) August 23, 2021
“Financed by the State,” notes Alain Krakovitch, “these renovated trains offer more up-to-date comfort, practical storage [space] and improved lighting.”
As you will read in our night trains feature in the forthcoming September issue of Business Traveller, there are several new market entrants.
However they cannot obtain the sort of rolling stock that would appeal to the corporate or high-end leisure user.
Austria’s OEBB controls the best stock which it reserves for its Nightjet trains.
To acquire new night train stock takes several years from when the order is placed to when it enters service.