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IC Notte starts to renew its fleet.

Good news from Italy: The tender for new night train wagons for Trenitalia has finally been awarded and a first order has been placed for 70 wagons to be delivered by June 2026, with the option to order up to 300 more later. The coaches have a low price – but also a low capacity.

The lack of suitable rolling stock is the most obvious obstacle to the expansion of night train services in Europe. For five long years, Austrian ÖBB’s order for 231 new night train carriages and the conversion of another 22 unused seating carriages into modern couchette carriages was the only solution to this problem in sight.

2023 finally brought good news. The Norwegian VY ordered 136 new coaches. The private night train start-up Midnight Trains disclosed that it found a manufacturer for their rolling stock, and Poland’s PKP ordered new intercity trains, including “26 carriages to ensure comfortable journeys at night”. Sweden announced it would renew its domestic night train fleet. And now Italy is actually starting the renewal.

70 new wagons are not really much, but a total of 370 would be a lot. That would be more than the current IC Notte fleet and outnumber the Austrian fleet. So is Trenitalia planning to expand its network, maybe even to offer Italian travellers more international connections than the three connections with Germany and Austria currently operated by ÖBB?

On 11 August, Skoda Transportation published some of the visualisations with which the bidding consortium won the tender, as well as further details about the first order of 70 coaches: Trenitalia ordered 4 economy class coaches (seats) in a large space, 44 comfort class coaches (couchettes) and 22 DeLuxe coaches (with 1- and 2-bed sleeping berths).

The couchettes will offer seven regular compartments with 4 beds (as in the previous IC notte) and one barrier-free compartment for persons with reduced mobility (PRM) and their escorts. This results in a capacity of 30 berths per coach, which corresponds to the capacity utilisation of the 22 converted ÖBB seating carriages, which also have a PRM compartment. The headrest visible in the models indicates that the lower berths can be converted to a sitting position. However, this would require folding away the guardrails when the bed is raised.

For passengers who want more privacy, the sleeper cars will offer 8 sleeping compartments, of which 6 will have two single beds on top of each other and 2 will have a foldable double bed – all with en-suite bathrooms. This results in a capacity of 16 sleeping berths per carriage, which means a comparatively low utilisation rate. There will be no “capsules” for solo travellers on a budget.

The overall occupancy rate, i.e. the ratio of sleeping berths per coach, will thus be about 25% lower than the current rate. Trenitalia could need 8 instead of 6 or 12 instead of 9 carriages to carry the same number of passengers as with the present Italian fleet.

The price per carriage is fairly low, exactly meeting the budget restriction in the tender. It is roughly 20% below the price ÖBB agreed to pay for their new nightjets in 2018. However, these new nightjets will allow ÖBB to sell 8% to 20% more tickets per carriage than Trenitalia with its new rolling stock. Capacity is actually more crucial, as rolling stock cost makes up only a small percentage of the overall operational cost – unless the operator can rely on a directly awarded public service obligation (i.e. a non-competitive subsidy).

Trenitalia operates 28 night trains per day and occasionally two other routes, usually with 5-10 coaches per train. So with 370 new couchettes, there would be an average of 11-12 coaches per night train. This is enough to replace the capacity currently needed and still leaves some room to attract new passengers.

Italy has introduced new safety requirements mandating the installation of sprinkler systems, so extensive replacement may be necessary. This would provide many available vehicles in good condition that would allow for an expansion of the night train network in other European countries. Either by other operators or by Trenitalia itself.

Technical Data:

  • Max. speed: 200 km/h.
  • Propulsion: Loco hauled
  • Max. capacity:
    • Economy: 51 passengers,
    • Comfort: 30 passengers
    • DeLuxe: 16 passengers


  • double-bed compartments, convertible for daytime
  • Deckchair coaches

Order Data:

Manufacturer: Škoda Group & Titagarh Firema
Coaches ordered: 70 (option for up to 370)
Production time: 3 years
Purchase volume: 732.5 M EUR
1.97 M EUR average per carriage (excl. haulage)


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