In this review, we will travel in a private sleeper compartment on a Nightjet train from Feldkirch to Graz in Austria (NJ 465 Zurich to Graz via Feldkirch and Innsbruck).
After my short but fun visit to the friendly little city of Feldkirch, it was time to move on and continue my trip towards the Balkans.
My next train on my journey would be an overnight Nightjet train from Feldkirch, located in the western Austrian state of Vorarlberg, to the city of Graz in the south-eastern state of Styria.
In case you might not know what Nightjet is: This is a brand of sleeper trains (night trains) which are operated by the Austrian Railways (ÖBB).
Although most Nightjet trains link cities in Austria with those in nearby countries such as Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands, there are also some Nightjet routes which run completely outside of Austria.
A good example of such a route is the Nightjet sleeper train which links Hamburg with Zurich in Switzerland.
Despite it being a Saturday evening, Feldkirch seemed like a ghost town at this hour.
All shops, restaurants and cafés seemed to have closed already at 8pm or were in the progress of closing down for the evening – although this may have had something to do as well with Austria’s corona restrictions at the time.
This was also true for Feldkirch station, which felt completely deserted apart from a handful of other passengers waiting in the central hall.
Fortunately, the kebab shop outside at the adjacent bus station was open, so at least I managed to buy a beer for the journey.
Having waited for an hour, I went to the platform where my train was about to arrive at any moment.
Booking my train
So before we board the train, let’s take a look at how I actually booked the ticket and how much you can expect to pay for it.
Although you can always buy a Nightjet ticket at the station before departure, you are highly advised to book it in advance, which is pretty straightforward to do on the website of the Austrian Railways.
Even though there might still be seats available in normal seating carriages, the couchettes and especially the beds in the sleeper wagon do sell out fast, especially around weekends and holidays.
Besides, you can also benefit from cheaper prices by booking as far out in advance as you can grab one of the cheaper saver deals which gives you a slight discount.
On my journey from Feldkirch to Graz, I travelled in a standard private sleeper, which costs around 150 euro.
If you have an Interrail or Eurail pass, you still have to reserve and pay for the couchette or sleeper supplement on Nightjet trains. On this Nightjet route, you would pay 116 euro for a private sleeper if you have an Interrail or Eurail pass.
It is easy enough to do this online – although you need to know where to look for it. At the online ticket booking tool of the Austrian Railways, you should click on the “change” button next to the field which reads “1 x adult”.
This not only allows you to select the amount of passengers you want to make a booking for, but you can also add discount cards here such as an Interrail or Eurail pass – which both give you free travel through Austria.
Type in “Interrail” or “Eurail”, and the option ‘Interrail / Eurail – Globalpass’ will come up. Select this, click confirm, and all tickets which you will search now will have the pass discount included, which means that you will only have to pay for the couchette or sleeper supplement and reservation on the Nightjet.
Nightjet Train Feldkirch to Graz
Train NJ 465– Departure: 10.45pm – Arrival: 7.00am
Duration: 8h15m – Distance: 588 kilometres
Carriage 314, bed 62 – Costs: 116 EUR for a standard sleeper for private use
Boarding my train
My Nightjet train to Graz arrived at Feldkirch on the dot at 10.20pm, having started its journey earlier that evening in Zurich, Switzerland.
This train, NJ 465, links Zurich with Feldkirch, Innsbruck and Graz in Austria.
Before commencing its journey to Graz at 10.45pm, the Nightjet halts for 25 minutes at Feldkirch, giving you plenty of time to board the train.
At the opposite side of the platform from my train stood another Nightjet train, namely NJ 447 which links Bregenz with Vienna.
So let’s have a look how my private sleeper on board the Nightjet train looks like!
There are two kinds of sleeper compartments on board Nightjet trains: There are standard sleepers, as well as deluxe sleepers with an en-suite toilet and shower which can be booked for an extra premium.
As my overnight journey from Feldkirch to Graz was relatively short, I didn’t bother going for a deluxe sleeper and just settled for the standard sleeper.
Each Nightjet compartment can be booked as a private sleeper (single), which was exactly what I did.
You can also opt to just book a berth inside a 2 or 3-bed compartment, in which case you will share the compartment with 1 or 2 other passengers of the same sex.
If there are two of you, simply book a 2-bed compartment for double occupancy.
Inside the compartment
I was certainly impressed when I entered my Nightjet sleeper compartment, which looked neat, clean and well-equipped.
There is plenty of overhead storage space for your luggage, as well as a clothes rack where you can hang up your jacket.
Each standard sleeper compartment has a washbasin and mirror, although if you need to use the toilet you have to go out of your compartment and use one of the two shared toilets which you will find at both ends of the carriage.
The bed itself is certainly comfortable, although I do find the pillows on the Nightjet to be on the very small side.
Fortunately, I was travelling alone in my sleeper and thus could use the spare pillow from the other bed as well, which made finding a good position to rest my head a lot easier.
Each Nightjet compartment has two standard style European power sockets – one just below the bed and one at the washbasin.
Each passenger travelling in a sleeper compartment on board a Nightjet train receives an amenity kit which is presented in a paper bag.
The Nightjet amenity bag contains a couple of items such as slippers, a towel, wet wipes, a pen and a couple of small snacks among others. Two small bottles of water are also provided.
Once you have settled in your compartment, the Nightjet sleeping car attendant will hand out a complimentary bottle of Prosecco as welcome drink, which is a nice touch.
Food and drinks on board the Nightjet
A light European breakfast with coffee or tea is included for passengers travelling in a sleeper compartment on a Nightjet train.
In your compartment, you will find a breakfast card (written in both German and English) which lists all available food items. From this menu, you can choose six options for free (any extra item will cost you an additional 1.2 EUR).
You simply fill in the breakfast card before you go to sleep and hand it over to the sleeping car attendant, who will bring your breakfast to your compartment the following morning.
On the menu you can find such breakfast foods such as bread rolls, cheeses and cold cuts, yoghurt, muesli and Nutella.
Inside your compartment, you will also find another menu, which lists food and drinks which can order from the train attendant. This includes beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks, as well as snacks such as sandwiches and even light (microwaved) meals.
Of course, you are free to bring along any food of drinks yourself on board the train.
Before departure, the sleeper train attendant told me that they had just rolled out WiFi internet on the Nightjet train and asked whether I wanted to fill in a questionnaire about my experiences with it, to which I was happy to comply.
Although the WiFi worked like a charm, you should not forget that it uses the same mobile signal as you would when using 4G on your phone.
That means that in remote mountain areas or tunnels there is of course no WiFi signal – and in Austria that can be quite some parts of the line!
Safety and security on the Nightjet
If you go the toilet during the journey, make sure you take your keycard with you which will be given by the train attendant as you might need this to unlock your compartment door from the outside!
There are CCTV cameras in the aisle of the carriage and your sleeping car attendant will of course also keep an eye on everything, making sure that only ticketed passengers enter the wagon.
When you go to sleep, you should always lock the door of your compartment in order to safeguard your belongings.
If you follow these precautions and use common sense, travelling on the Nightjet is completely safe.
The actual departure of my train was rather uneventful as it was already dark and there wasn’t anything I could see from the window.
After finishing my drink, I therefore went straight to bed, hoping to get as much sleep as possible before waking up the following morning somewhere in Styria.
The following morning breakfast was brought to my compartment just after 6am.
From the breakfast card, I had ordered two bread rolls, cheese, ham, butter, a small package of orange juice and a coffee.
One thing I like about the Nightjet train is that they ensure you get freshly baked bread rolls in the morning – and my breakfast certainly tasted great.
Besides, eating breakfast in bed when you admire the views from your window is certainly a nice way to wake up!
At the station of Bruck an der Mur, the Nightjet train reverses its direction and heads further south along the River Mur on its final stretch towards Graz.
Although its far from Austria’s prettiest view from a train, it’s still nice to watch the scenery of rolling hills and a verdant river valley.
One aspect which pleasantly surprised me during the journey was the quality of the service.
The sleeping car attendant, who spoke fluent English, was certainly welcoming and professional. When I boarded the train, he asked me whether this was my first ever journey on Nightjet (which it actually was).
He then went to great lengths to explain me all details, such as the breakfast card and where I could find everything in my compartment.
Although most of these things were quite straightforward for me having travelled on hundreds of other night trains before, it was still appreciated and I can certainly see how it can help overseas visitors who might be new to train travel in Europe.
Three minutes before its scheduled arrival time of 7am, the Nightjet train pulled into the modern station of Graz.
Fortunately, I had a good night of sleep on board the Nightjet. As my connecting train to Slovenia wouldn’t depart for another three hours, I therefore felt rested enough to have a walk through the city of Graz.
I had a comfortable journey on the Nightjet sleeper train which links Zurich, Switzerland, with Feldkirch, Innsbruck and Graz in Austria.
My private sleeper compartment was neat and clean and had everything I could have possibly wanted on an overnight journey like this.
Nightjet trains are operated in a smooth and professional manner, which you can see from small details like the amenity bag and bottle of Prosecco as welcome drink.
The service from the sleeping car attendant on my train was impeccable as well as he went to great lengths to explain all details and to make sure I had a smooth journey.
My only real complaint was the rather small pillow – something which should be easy enough to improve on! Everything else during my journey on the Nightjet was simply great.
Travelling overnight on a Nightjet sleeper train is a comfortable, time-effective way to cover large distances in Europe – and I can certainly recommend it to others.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘Across Europe by Train: Interrail in the Age of Corona‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class Bucharest to Warsaw (Embraer ERJ-175)
2. Walking Through an Empty Warsaw in Corona Lockdown
3. Review: Four Points by Sheraton Warsaw Mokotow
4. Review: LOT Polish Airlines Economy Class Warsaw to Zurich (Boeing 737 MAX)
5. A Stopover Walk Through the Old Town of Zurich
6. Review: Railjet Train Zurich to Feldkirch
7. An Evening in Friendly Little Feldkirch
8. Review: Nightjet Train Feldkirch to Graz (current chapter)
9. A Short Walk Along the Sights of Graz
10. Review: Emona EuroCity Train Vienna – Ljubljana – Trieste
11. Zidani Most: Europe’s Most Picturesque Train Station
12. Review: Ljubljana to Zagreb by EuroCity Train EC 1211 ‘Sava’
13. Flying With Trade Air on a Let L-410 Turbolet Across Croatia
14. Review: Palace Derossi, Trogir, Croatia
15. A Visit to the Tranquil Island City of Trogir, Croatia
16. Cycling on Ciovo: A Trogir Day Trip by Bike
17. Split: Croatia’s Bustling Seaside City Full of History
18. Review: Croatian Railways ICN Train Split to Zagreb
19. Review: Esplanade Hotel, Zagreb, Croatia
20. Zagreb: A Guide to Croatia’s Underrated Capital City
21. Review: EuroCity Train “Croatia” Zagreb to Vienna
22. Review: Dacia Night Train Vienna to Bucharest