With ÖBB investing over 4.1bn EUR in new rolling stock for night trains and refurbishment of older rolling stock, ÖBB is currently certainly the key player when it comes to overnight travels by rail in Europe. The company has laid out last week its strategy and priorities for the next year(s).
The first for 25 new nightjet trainsets, which can run with 230km/h, is expected to enter into service in summer 2023. The company seeks also to add additional stops and routes, respectively increases of frequencies to its network. On the one hand, the gained momentum for holiday travels by train should be utilized by adding Split, Genoa and Rijeka. On the other hand adding Stuttgart as a station will increase possibilities further.
The general hub and spoke model with Salzburg as a center appears to remain, but given the growing routes and distances, this might be further adapted in the future.
By investing in rolling stock, increasing frequencies on the potential key routes, ÖBB is also making it a challenge for new entrants to enter the market. Any startup needs considerable funding to bring the capabilities as well as find some still lucrative (secondary?) cities or an alternative business model overall to build a sustainable business.
A simplified offer with a very competitive pricing model and very easy customer journey could for instance be such a solution – but still, the capital costs would be significant..