CZECH REPUBLIC: National operator České Dráhy has introduced the ČD Night brand with the aim of raising the profile of its overnight trains, ahead of the launch of a route from Praha to Zürich via Germany with the December timetable change.

On October 24 the operator presented its fleet of coaches for overnight services running at 160 to 200 km/h. This includes 12 WLABmz and nine WLABmee sleeping cars and nine ex-ÖBB Bcmz couchette cars.

ČD is investing KC249m in night train fleet modernisation, with the work being undertaken by Škoda Pars and DPOV for completion in mid-2023. The scope includes fitting new air-conditioning, doors, fire protection systems, vacuum toilets, beds, showers, LED lighting, wi-fi and power and USB sockets.


From the December 11 timetable change, ČD will launch a EuroCity service branded Canopus between Praha and Zürich in collaboration with ÖBB, DB and SBB. This will take a northern route via Dresden, Leipzig, Frankfurt-am-Main and Basel, offering an alternative to the existing southern connection via Austria, which ČD says is often fully booked.

The train will leave Praha at 18.25 arriving in Zürich at 09.05 the next morning, with the return leg departing from Zürich at 19.59 and arriving in Praha at 09.35. It will include sleeping cars with ‘deluxe’ compartments, couchettes and seating cars.

ČD is currently negotiating a subsidy for the service with the Ministry of Transport, seeking at least a reduction in track access charges.