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German trains introduce ‘smooch cabins’ and digital seat ‘towels’



State operator Deutsche Bahn will also allow passengers to reserve seats with ‘digital towels’


German trains will soon feature new cabins designed for greater privacy as part of a multi-billion euro revamp.

State railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) has unveiled plans for compartments with frosted glass where travellers can take private video calls or ‘cuddle’.

Dubbed ‘knutsch-abteil’ (‘smooch cabins’) by German newspaper Bild, they will be rolled out on DB’s Intercity Express (ICE) high-speed trains.

The company is also planning to install digital seat reservations and scent buttons.

German trains will have private cabins for taking video calls

The new compartments measuring two metres by 70 centimetres have been designed to fit a maximum of two people.

At the push of a button located in an armrest, the transparent glass becomes frosted to give greater privacy.

As such, those travelling in the cabins can transform a train seat into “a personal space with significantly more privacy,” DB said.

The state operator said the privacy function was designed to allow passengers to make phone or video calls while travelling.

“These enable private and confidential conversations in a protected environment,” DB board member Michael Peterson told Bild.

“Anyone who sits in the model of an ICE two-person compartment can already get a sense of what train travel could soon feel like,” added Peterson.

Smooch cabins and cuddle compartments

In its coverage, Bild also highlighted another convenient aspect of the cabins’ frosted glass.

The paper launched a poll for readers to find a name for the new seating, including ‘cuddle compartment’ and ‘cuddle chamber’. The winning name was ‘smooch cabin’.

The cabins are currently being trialled by different passenger types.

Deutsche Bahn to introduce seat ‘towels’ and scent buttons

DB has also announced it will install digital screens that passengers can use to mark a seat as occupied if they leave it to use one of the new private compartments, restaurant car or toilet.

The company has called the service a ‘digital towel’, referring to the controversial habit of German tourists reserving pool and beach loungers with towels.

DB is also planning scent buttons beside doorways and station lifts that will release a relaxing fragrance.

The operator has not confirmed when these new amenities will be introduced but they are part of a more comprehensive multi-billion euro rehaul of their services.

DB’s own network status report from 2023 described the railway system as ‘old’ and ‘prone to failure’.


The operator has pledged to deliver a ‘railway fit for the future’ by 2030 which will also see the use of AI technology to improve engineering works.

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