City Night Line

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Logo of the CNL
Seasonal CityNightLine train on the Lötschberg south ramp just before Brig-Glis ( Switzerland )
CityNightLine double-decker sleeping car

City Night Line (abbreviation: CNL , car colors: white / red, previously dark blue / yellow, logo in the Swiss timetable:) CNL logowas a type of train for night trains in Europe . It has been operated directly by DB Fernverkehr since 2013 . DB European Railservice provided the staff . The CNL owned the last domestic German night train from Munich to Hamburg still operated by DB or its subsidiaries, as well as connections between Germany and the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy via Austria.

As announced at the end of 2015, despite the strong criticism, DB Fernverkehr stopped night train services when the timetable changed in December 2016. ÖBB took over part of the previous CNL offer, which also acquired part of the DB's sleeping and couchette cars. Since then, the trains have been operating as EuroNight under the brand name nightjet


Deutsche Bahn's night train service combined in the CNL was successively reduced in the last decades before it was discontinued; for example, in the 1990s there was more than one night connection between Munich and Rome or Munich and Berlin.

In 1998, the night train business of Deutsche Bahn with the train types EN (EuroNight) and UEx (holiday express) was outsourced from DB Fernverkehr to DB AutoZug. One year later, CityNightLine, based in Zurich, which had previously been a joint venture between DB, ÖBB and SBB, became a 100% subsidiary of DB Fernverkehr. It was run together with DB Autozug. From this point on, responsibility for all types of night trains that formed the core of the City Night Line network was in one hand. However, the service, vehicle material and prices of the CityNightLine and its German counterpart were continued separately.

Parallel to the corporate integration, the DB Autozug night trains were renamed to the DB night train class . When the timetable changed on December 15, 2002, the DB night train service was expanded to include 20 trains. With the advent of low-cost airlines and the expansion of the international high-speed rail network, DB saw the need to align night travel to the changed requirements of the transport market. The aim was to establish night travel as a supplement to high-speed travel over long distances (between 800 and 1500 km). In order to achieve this, the existing train types CityNightLine (CNL), DB NachtZug (NZ) and UrlaubsExpress (UEx) were integrated into the new City Night Line (CNL) product. At the same time, the product was integrated into the pricing systems and sales of the respective departure country. The route network was redesigned in accordance with the objectives: parallel connections to long-distance traffic were canceled, lines were specifically extended and highly seasonal and tourist destinations were given up in favor of daily connections. As part of the bundling of the offer, older passenger coaches were taken out of service. The entire fleet of sleeper, couchette and recliner cars has been air-conditioned throughout since then. The cars were given a uniform appearance in white with a red ribbon of windows. Doors are all white. The service was standardized across all lines.

On January 1, 2010, the City Night Line CNL was taken over by DB AutoZug , also a wholly owned subsidiary of DB Fernverkehr . In September 2013, DB AutoZug was dissolved and merged with DB Fernverkehr.

Up until 2014 there were five groups of CNL lines, each grouped on a section:

  • the forked train routes Munich ↔ Milan / Rome and
  • Munich ↔ Berlin / Hamburg,
  • the CNL Munich ↔ Venice bifurcated with an EN Vienna ↔ Venice,
  • six lines coupled on partial routes between Amsterdam ↔ Munich / Zurich (–Chur), Paris ↔ Hamburg / Berlin (–Binz) / Munich (-Innsbruck) and Hamburg ↔ Zurich (–Chur), with recoupling in Mannheim, and
  • seven lines coupled on partial routes between Amsterdam (via Cologne), Copenhagen (via Hamburg), Zurich or Basel, Warsaw and Prague (partly via Berlin). This included the three connections between Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Prague, which were combined in pairs, met in both directions at the same time in Hanover and exchanged the trains there. For example, of the two trains from Copenhagen to Amsterdam and Prague in Hanover, one was coupled to the train from Prague to Amsterdam, the other to the train in the opposite direction from Amsterdam to Prague. In Berlin, a train section from Amsterdam to Warsaw was split off, and in Hanover a train route from Copenhagen to Basel. Only on the Prague – Dresden section was there a coupling with the Prague – Zurich connection, which was mainly designed as a fork truck with the train route (Binz–) Berlin - Zurich.
CNL network FDP 2010/2011

With the timetable change on December 15, 2014, there were significant restrictions on the network, with the following lines no longer applicable:

Train number Train name Former train route
CNL 40447/40473 Borealis Amsterdam - Copenhagen
CNL 450/451 Perseus Paris - Berlin
CNL 40418/40451 Cassiopeia ( Innsbruck -) Munich - Paris
CNL 473/472 Aurora Copenhagen - Basel
CNL 40479/50451 Andromeda Hamburg - Paris
CNL 50456/50473 Orion Prague - Copenhagen

With the timetable change on December 13, 2015, the CityNightLine Capella (Munich East - Berlin-Lichtenberg) was discontinued. Since then, there has been no night train service between Munich and Berlin.

At the end of 2015, Deutsche Bahn announced that it would discontinue night train services at the 2016 timetable change. The causes named include outdated vehicle material, increasing competitive pressure and poor quality. As a replacement, DB Fernverkehr expanded its nightly IC and ICE services, some as seasonal connections. IC night buses are to be used internationally. In addition, ÖBB took over some of the night train connections, but some with different routes (for example Zurich – Prague via Innsbruck and Salzburg instead of Frankfurt (Main)). However, the ÖBB did not take over the night train staff of Deutsche Bahn. According to its own statements, Deutsche Bahn had achieved a record deficit of 30 million euros with a turnover of 90 million euros in mid-2016. A variety of organizations such as B. VCD , Back-On-Track and Allianz pro Schiene support initiatives and petitions that want to maintain and expand night trains as a climate-friendly alternative to air travel.

The aim of the City Night Line route network was to complement the European long-distance network on long journeys. Driving times of more than six hours were shifted into the night and could be covered without losing any additional time while sleeping.

The City Night Line trains were operated in a wing train system . For example, the train parts of the Amsterdam – Munich and Amsterdam – Zurich lines ran together to Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof, where they were separated.

City Night Line with DB class 101 locomotive at Berlin Südkreuz station on the way to Paris (2010)

Equipment of the trains

City Night Line trains were made up of compartment or open seating cars with recliners, couchette cars , sleeping cars and dining cars . All lines had a special compartment for passengers with reduced mobility. To make it easier to take luggage with you, either combined couchette / luggage trolleys or seated trolleys with a special luggage / bicycle compartment were used.

The sleeping cars were specially developed for City Night Line. Most recently, only sleeping cars of the so-called Comfortline (type 173.1) were used. The carriages are air-conditioned and offer two, sometimes three beds per compartment, in the so-called de-luxe version with a private bathroom (shower, washbasin and toilet). Otherwise there is a laptop connection in each compartment and the sink, shower and toilet are in the corridor. The compartments are equipped with "normal" beds. All of these wagons were taken over by ÖBB in December 2016.

The couchette and seating cars were converted from existing types of the Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Deutsche Reichsbahn . The couchette cars were equipped with four or six couches and were used in three subtypes, which differ in their additional functions:

  • Couchette coaches (type 248.5)
  • Couchette coaches with compartments for passengers with reduced mobility (type 249.1)
  • Half luggage couchette (type 874.1)

The Bvcmbz 249.1 were taken over by the ÖBB.

Compartment coaches (six seats per compartment; type 236.9 ) and open- plan coaches with easy chairs (type 875) were used for the seating car .

Tariffs and prices


Reservation fees and price examples 2011

The CNL traffic was collectively the product class IC / EC (formerly product class B assigned), the second highest of the three classes of products of the DB passenger transport. All long-distance fares and the corresponding discount options (BahnCard) apply to the City Night Line.

The now usual special offers for long-distance transport (for example the Lidl ticket or the Tchibo ticket ) were generally valid, but not generally also in the City Night Line. The respective offer conditions were to be observed.

Tickets could be purchased no earlier than three months before their first day of validity. For group trips, the lead time was up to twelve months, provided the relevant timetable was already known.

In addition to the ticket, a reservation was required (exception see above). It also served as payment for the additional overnight services and differed depending on the comfort category.

Other countries


In the Netherlands, the City Night Line was generally sold using the so-called global prices, as apply to transit traffic in Germany. Passengers with a ticket (e.g. Interrailer ) could also purchase reservations individually.


Analogous to the Netherlands


Analogous to Germany. Due to the high proportion of transit, i. H. However, when traveling to the Netherlands, the Czech Republic or Denmark, the share of global price tickets was high.

See also

Web links

Commons : CityNightLine  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Future Rail - Together for more quality, more customers, more success. Deutsche Bahn AG, 2015, archived from the original on January 1, 2016 ; accessed on May 21, 2016 .
  2. ÖBB take over night train connections from Deutsche Bahn. In: October 7, 2016, accessed January 9, 2018 .
  3. ↑ Change of timetable . In: Eisenbahn-Revue International , issue 11/2002, ISSN  1421-2811 , p. 498 f.
  4. CNL websites, accessed June 2014.
  5. Kerstin Schwenn: The end of the journey in pajamas . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . No. 123 , May 30, 2016, ISSN  0174-4909 , p. 22 (including date online ).
  6. ↑ Conditions of carriage for people by the companies of Deutsche Bahn AG (BB Personenverkehr) , item 2.1, as of September 1, 2007.