The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, making it Aldean's third and second consecutive album to do so. Night Train sold 409,000 copies on its first week, making it the biggest opening sales for a country album since Taylor Swift's Speak Now sold 1,049,000 copies in 2010, as well as the fourth biggest opening sales for an album in 2012.
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, and the Top Country Albums chart, selling 409,303 copies in its first week of release. The album was also the highest first sales week of a country album since 2010 behind Taylor Swift's Speak Now. It was also the fourth biggest opening sales for an album in 2012, after Swift's Red with 1,208,000 copies, Mumford and Sons' Babel with 600,000 copies sold, and One Direction's Take Me Home with 540,000 copies sold in the first week. Night Train was certified platinum, signifying one million copies shipped, in December 2012, Aldean's fifth straight album to do so. It was the 10th best-selling album of 2012 in the US, having sold 1,024,000 copies for the year. As of January 2015, the album has sold 1,750,000 copies in the US.
The most glowing review for the album came from Donna Block with Got Country Online, who gave Night Train five-stars, and stated "all the tracks blend seamlessly from one to another on his fifth album." The next best rating for the album was a 4.5-star allocation, which was by Rob Burkhardt with Music Is My Oxygen Weekly, and said that "Night Train is a well-crafted, elegantly produced record that takes risks, flirting with musical boundaries and occasionally tackling tough topics, but in a way that preserves the integrity both of the artist and the genre." The album garnered two 4-star reviews the first from Pegasus News' Audrey Swanson, who affirmed that "Night Train, with equal parts passion, fun, vulnerability, and wildness, proves that Aldean is now more than eligible to be dubbed the 'badass' of contemporary country music." The second from Reporter Online' Krista Bellardo, who noted that the album is "Armed with great balance, catchy lyrics and strong melodies, you are likely to keep these songs in your head for days." Lastly, Andrew Eckhous of The Michigan Daily rated the album a 3.5-star effort, and wrote that "Night Train successfully bridges the divide between pop-country and radio rock...With Night Train, Aldean is making a serious effort to be a crossover star. Granted, he’s not crossing over very far...Night Train is a country-pop album, meaning it inherently carries an aura of corniness."
The album got four three-star reviews from About.com, American Songwriter, Roughstock and Taste of Country publications. First, About.com's Robert Silva surmised that "But too often the songs are weighed down by arena-rock white noise and watery lyricism. Still, there are few true clunkers here (the less said about the maudlin stripper song 'Black Tears' the better). Listeners willing to play the law of averages are encouraged to roll the dice." Next, Jewly Hight of American Songwriter proclaimed that the "album is no wistful affair." Then, Dan MacIntosh of Roughstock stated that "Night Train is mostly far closer to Southern rock than traditional country." Lastly, Taste of Country's Billy Dukes was critical about how "In being too technical, ‘Night Train’ loses a little soul...yet from top to bottom, the singer’s fifth project leaves one wanting some magic never felt before." The worst rating come from Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic, who cringed that the album "feels weary, a little hollow, and not at all fun."
The reviews that were given out of four was the USA Today and The Washington Times. Jerry Shriver with USA Today rated the album a three-star effort, and stated that the album had a "progressive sound apparent throughout the album". On the other hand, Andrew Leahey of The Washington Times rated the album a two-star release, and he wrote that the album "feels hollow at the middle, like it’s running on fumes instead of actual inspiration." On the subject of ratings out of ten, ukCOUNTRYmusic.NET's Jordan Mitchell rated the album a nine-out-of-ten, and called the album "well written and perfected by his iconic voice." Conversely, BwareDWare94 of Ultimate Guitar rated the album a 5.5-out-of-ten, and noted that "Aldean has always released solid albums. They're worth the money, and "Night Train" is no exception. You can expect distorted guitars, faint steel rides, and soaring vocals." BwareDWare94 wrote that if not for the song "1994" that the rating would be an 8 or a 9, but the song according to the reviewer was "just God awful", yet the reviewer alluded to that "Some may call this album a step back, but to this listener it's a stellar return to form."
Of the graded reviews, Mandi Bierly with Entertainment Weekly gave the album (A-), saying, "While Aldean can pull off his wilder detours, he's at his best when he hews to traditional themes." Glenn Gamboa Newsday graded the album a (B+), and commented that "'Night Train' shows no sign of slowing him down." The lone review without a score was from Tammy Ragusa with Country Weekly, and she said that "With Night Train, gone are the days of Jason just “doing what he does best.” Because, with these 15 tracks, it’s clear he can do it all pretty damn good."