Double Decker Sleeper Cars Types WLABm 171 and WLBm 172

The double decker sleeper cars type BA 171 and 172 were designed for the night express hotel train concept of DACH Hotelzug AG, a joint subsidiary of DB, ÖBB and SBB, with 1st and 2nd class double decker sleeper cars. The Hotelzug (hotel train) Joint Venture consisting of Schindler Waggon AG in Altenrhein, Simmering-Graz-Pauker (SGP) in Graz, Talbot in Achen and the consortium Wagon Ausrüstung Hotelzug (KWH) was engaged to build the sleeper cars. The cars were built between 1992 and 1995 in Switzerland, Germany and Austria and were designed and approved for a maximum speed of 200 km/h in these three countries. In the cars the requirements for quiet running, comfort and ease of use for passengers were carefully balanced and realised.

The double-decker design is unusual in sleeper cars travelling across borders. Over two levels on one side of the car there are compartments each with two berths in a bunk bed arrangement. On the other side of the car there is a corridor from which the upper and lower compartments can be accessed via stairs.

On the ground floor in the middle of the car there is a plant room housing technical equipment like input transformer, throttle and parts of the air conditioning system, while the following equipment, among other things, is installed underneath the side corridor: On-board battery, battery charger, 24V fuse board, brake equipment panel, 230V and 600V fuse board, HV mounting plate, train busbar, step-up converter, inverter cooling, inverter auxiliary systems and power supply block.

Two types of car were built based on the same railcar body.

  • The 1st and 2nd class WLABm car originally had 13 compartments in the double-decker area and 2 compartments at side corridor level. 11 of the compartments are 2nd class and four are first class. A total of 34 beds/seats are available. The 1st class compartments have two sleeping berths with a shower unit and WC. The 2nd class compartments have two sleeping berths and washing facilities. The car has two shared/public toilets and a service compartment with coffee machine, dishwasher, microwave oven, convection oven and fridge
  • The 2nd class WLBm car originally had 17 compartments in the double-decker area and 3 compartments at side corridor level with a total of 44 beds or seats. The compartments are equipped with washing facilities. Unlike the WLABm there are no en-suite toilets in the compartments, only at the ends of the car.

The cars, which have air-sprung bogies, offer a high level of travel comfort and have good thermal and sound insulation. There is good sound insulation between the compartments. The cars are air conditioned in accordance with UIC MB 553.

In the 1st class compartments there is room for a table and chairs as well as for the beds. In the 2nd class compartments the beds can be folded up when not in use and replaced by comfortable bench seats.

The shower and washing facilities have a pressurized water supply and temperature control at the outlet.

DACH Hotelzug AG subsequently sold the cars to SBB, ÖBB and CityNightline CNL AG of Deutsche Bahn. During operation from 1995 onwards, the compartment layouts and configurations in both types of railcar were partially adapted to customer requirements. Some rail vehicles were also converted from operation with 1000V 16.7Hz or 50Hz to multiple-voltage capability (1000V 16.7Hz, 1500V 50Hz) or multiple system capability (1000V 16.7Hz, 1500V 50Hz, DC3000V, DC1500V)

Photographs of Fist and Second Class DoSto Roomette WLABm Type 171

Air-conditioned double deck sleeper/roomette WLABm 171 built by Arbeitsgemeinschaft Hotelzug consisting of Schindler Waggon AG, Simmering-Graz-Pauker (SGP), Talbot and the Konsortium Wagonausrüstung Hotelzug (KWH). Purchased by CityNighLine from DACH Hotelzug AG.
View of the sleeping coach at the platform.
Double deck sleeping cars WLABm 171.1 and 171.3, 9 or 11 compartments with 2 beds each, 4 compartments with own shower. Separate service-compartment. Air-conditioned. Side with compartments visible.
The compartments in the centre of the roomette are arranged in two levels, at the ends on the intermediate height of the corridor
DoSto sleeping cars WLABm 171.1 and 171.3, with 9 or 11 compartments with 2 beds each, 4 compartments with own shower. Air-conditioned. Side with corridor at intermediate level visible.
The corridor of the double-deck sleeping car runs at intermediate height.
DoSto or bi-level roomette WLABm 171, air conditioned, Pullman car, Wagon-lints, 200km/h, first class compartments with own shower, Photograph: Heinz Lahs
Photograph: Heinz Lahs

Pictures of Second Class WLBm 172 Bi-Level Sleeping Car

Bi-level Pullman Car WLBm 172 with second class compartments, 2 beds each, air-conditioning and high comfort by air-ride and low noise. Purchase or lease.
Gallery sleeping car WLBm 172, standard class compartments with 2 beds only. Light weight car-body design
Double decker wagon lits WLBm 172 with air conditioning, silent running, and secondary suspension with air bellows

Technical Data of Bi-Level Sleeping Railcars WLABm 171 and WLBm 172

(for Information only)

Download technical data of bi-level sleeping railcars WLABm 171 and WLBm 172 in PDF format


Boarding from platform heights:

350 mm ... 760 mm

Doors per side:


Access door:

sliding plug door 800 mm clear width, operated by compressed air

Number of 1st class beds/seats in WLABm:


Number of 2nd class beds/seats in WLABm:

18 or 26, depending on conversions

Number of 2nd class beds/seats in WLBm:

36 or 42, depending on conversions

Layout of passenger area:

2 berths in bunk-bed arrangement in each compartment

Number of public/shared toilets:


Wet room in 1st class compartment:

WC, shower, vanity with washbasin

Washing facility in 2nd class compartments:

Vanity with washbasin in compartment


vacuum system

Service compartment:with coffee machine, water heater, fridge, dishwasher, microwave and convection ovens, rubbish container, sockets 230V 50Hz, shaving socket, call station, monitor for CCTV


Fixed windows, in corridor some windows have hinged fanlight

Maximum speed:

200 km/h

Railcar body:

lightweight steel construction

Tare weight WLABm with half inventories:

58.2 t

Total weight WLABm:

64 t

Tare weight WLBm with half inventories:

57.6 t

Total weight WLBm:

64 t

Length over buffers:

26,900 mm

Railcar body width:

2,800 mm

Height above rail top edge:

4,320 mm

Distance between bogie pivots:

19,900 mm


Talbot, SGP

Bogie wheel base:

2,500 mm

Wheel diameter, new:

920 mm

Wheel diameter, worn:

860 mm

Minimum unconstrained curve radius, tare or gross:

150 m

Small unconstrained curve radius, unladen and uncoupled:

80 m

S-curves with 6 m intermediate straight track sections, tare or gross:

150 m

S-curves without intermediate straight track sections, tare or gross:

190 m

Floor height above rail top edge in boarding area:

1,280 mm

Floor height above rail top edge in side corridor:

1,338 mm

Floor height above rail top edge in top deck:

2,332 mm

Floor height above rail top edge in lower deck:

344 mm

Loading gauge     above 400 mm rail top edge:


Loading gauge     below 400 mm rail top edge:

UIC MB 505-2 Appendix 1

Buffers, coupling hook, coupling:


Automatic coupling:

installation coupling to UIC-MB 567-3 foreseen

Brake disks:

3 internally ventilated axle-mounted brake disks per wheelset

Brake cylinder:

one brake cylinder per brake-disk

Secondary suspension:

air suspension (air ride) with additional air volume


385 Ah, 24 V