Dream ticket: the night train from Cologne to Vienna

With Austria’s state railway revamping its night train network, our writer ponders the future of travel in Europe on one of its Nightjet sleeper cars

I wake in the pre-dawn light – still inky blue in the compartment. I lie there, feeling the train rock beneath me and then push up the window blind with a foot. I’m rolling through misty flatlands. The landscape spooling past. Austria.

Last night I was in Cologne. A wonderfully eccentric brass band was playing carols in the station entrance, and the gothic beast of the cathedral seemed to be listening, peering through the roof like an intrigued T-rex.

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