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Sleeper Trains

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We only have two remaining in the UK now - Scotrail's London to Inverness/Fortwilliam/Aberdeen service and GreatWestern London to Penzance. They sound to me like a great way to save time travelling (since I don't fly), and also avoid the hassle of other passengers. What is the reality?

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We only have two remaining in the UK now - Scotrail's London to Inverness/Fortwilliam/Aberdeen service and GreatWestern London to Penzance. They sound to me like a great way to save time travelling (since I don't fly), and also avoid the hassle of other passengers. What is the reality?

Did it many years ago and it is great, but be prepared to share witha stranger if travelling as a single.

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Went on one once, to Glasgow in 1997 or 8 (when I was living in London).

It was only possible to get about 2-3 hours' sleep, because the train left an hour and a half late (at about half past midnight) but still arrived on time at about 6am. The corridors and the cabin next door were very noisy for the first part of the journey. I was travelling with a colleague and so no need to share with a stranger, but we both found it a pretty unpleasant experience. This was just before the low cost airlines started operating on any significant scale and so the reason we used the sleeper was that it was the cheapest option that didn't knock out half a day travelling (our meeting was first thing in the morning, and so we'd have had to travel the previous day or fly British Airways otherwise). There's no way I'd go on one now, though.

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Never in this country but have used them in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Absolutely brilliant. Specially if you have a bunch of mates with you. Drunken japery aboundeth!

Once took a gas cooker with us and had a bbq! :blink:

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Never in this country but have used them in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Absolutely brilliant. Specially if you have a bunch of mates with you. Drunken japery aboundeth!

Once took a gas cooker with us and had a bbq! :blink:

I went from Norwich to Aberdeen.Couldn't sleep at all with the noise and motion and spent all the following day knackered.

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Went right across America on one ( well a few) NY to Buffalo (Niagara), Buffalo- Chicago Chicago - Denver, Denver - SF.

great way to travel. Normally everyone in USA keeps to themselves and won't talk to stangers but are much more friendly on trains

Also went from Adelaide to Alice Springs

Very gentle easy way to cover big distances, slow but stress free.

Costs a fortune in the UK though, cheaper to bus if economy important.

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Used the London to Scotland one last year, it is really really good, slept really well both nights, good service from train staff. Not as good as the one we did from Brussels to Berlin, which had a SHOWER at the end of each coach. But still highly recommended.

edit: Recommend this site: http://www.seat61.com/

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Guest Skinty

When I first moved up to Scotland I took the sleeper from Euston to Edinburgh in 1999. I actually managed to go first class because for some reason a first class single berth was only £10 more than a shared standard class. I have no idea why.

I should have just gone straight to sleep but I decided to sit in the restuarant and have a drink first. The train got into Edinburgh about 6am and so I was rather tired. I slept OK but it had been a busy day. I am not a heavy sleeper so there's no way I could cope with trying to sleep on a normal seat.

I've looked at the option of using a sleeper since then but it's always been too expensive. The advantage is that you don't have to pay for a B&B and you don't waste a whole day travelling.

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I'm a fan of rail travel, but they're horrible.

Tiny bed with dirty little sink, shared toilet at end of carriage. No facilities for showering.

Unless your schedule demands it, travel on a normal train and book into a cheap hotel at your destination for a proper sleep, shower, breakfast etc.

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They do have limited availability advance tickets as low as £19 one way, but they are random dates and routes - worth looking at the online list if you are a bit flexible.

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Sleepers are mixed on Russian trains.

On the whole Russian trains are great and usually a rolling party, but you don't want to travel 3rd Class, or in what they call Platzkart . . .

Platzkart Hell

I boarded my platzkart wagon heading out of Izhevsk feeling like I could die. And that was BEFORE entering platzkart--the infamous Russian third-class railway carriage. The train car, packed to the brim with foul-smelling Izhevsk hicks, was like one giant sweaty armpit. .

If you've never traveled platzkart, and chances are if you're reading this that you haven't, then you don't know what long distance transportation hell really means. It makes a 14-hour economy flight look like a weekend in the presidential suite of a Four Seasons resort.

Russians fear and despise platzkart. They avoid it like the plague if they can. But for most Russians, struggling to get by in an increasingly expensive country, platzkart is the only feasible way to travel. A $50 ticket can get you all the way from Moscow to Vladivostok. That's $50 for a week of travel...

From The Exile . . . more

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Unless your schedule demands it, travel on a normal train and book into a cheap hotel at your destination for a proper sleep, shower, breakfast etc.

Agreed. In the days before flights from the south to Scotland were sanely priced I could see the point of them; not any more. If I was travelling for leisure and not under a time constraint I'd drive, and if I was travelling for business and was under a time constraint I'd fly.

What might be useful is a combined train with roll on-roll off goods wagons onto which you can drive your car, plus optional sleeper compartments and/or seating carriages (so people with caravans etc. have the option of spending the journey in their vehicles, as with the Channel Tunnel trains). The idea of being able to get from one end of the country to another, without 8-9 hours of driving but with the use of your car at the other end is quite an enticing one.

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We only have two remaining in the UK now - Scotrail's London to Inverness/Fortwilliam/Aberdeen service and GreatWestern London to Penzance. They sound to me like a great way to save time travelling (since I don't fly), and also avoid the hassle of other passengers. What is the reality?

Kim jong il has a similar dilemma.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/2204146.stm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyOsulfpdY0

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I used to travel Sydney to Melbourne on the sleeper for morning meetings in Melbourne. Fantastic. Much better than the plane and taxis fighting traffic and the rolling stock was clean and newish. Slept like a baby.

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Agreed. In the days before flights from the south to Scotland were sanely priced I could see the point of them; not any more. If I was travelling for leisure and not under a time constraint I'd drive, and if I was travelling for business and was under a time constraint I'd fly.

What might be useful is a combined train with roll on-roll off goods wagons onto which you can drive your car, plus optional sleeper compartments and/or seating carriages (so people with caravans etc. have the option of spending the journey in their vehicles, as with the Channel Tunnel trains). The idea of being able to get from one end of the country to another, without 8-9 hours of driving but with the use of your car at the other end is quite an enticing one.

Peak oil means the end of mass air travel.

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Peak oil means the end of mass air travel.

High Speed Trains it is then.

Brilliant in Europe. Brussels to Paris in and hour and a half. Geneva to Paris around six hours. Hardly time for a snooze.

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High Speed Trains it is then.

Brilliant in Europe. Brussels to Paris in and hour and a half. Geneva to Paris around six hours. Hardly time for a snooze.

there's been debate about purpose built sleeper TGVs from St Pancras to far flung arts of Europe, ie London to Rome or whatever

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I went from Aberdeen to London, overnight. I paid the extra few quid to go first class. Absolutely fantastic!

Spent the evening in the First Class Dining car, drinking a heady "organic" beer from some local distillery.... three of them were enough! Chatted with total strangers as we all had an affinity! Then retired to a nice single cabin, complete with sink that was low enough for the essential removal of the earlier quaffed organic beer and on to a good nights sleep (gentle rocking motion really helps!).

Arrived at (whatever.... Victoria??) station in London at 0700 ish, having being woken up by a steward delivering a full English Breakfast and newspaper at 0600.

Popped into the complimentary shower rooms in the station for a freshen up before getting on the tube to head to my destination.... where I arrived feeling super refreshed and ready to go.

The alternative was waking up at 0300 to get to the airport at 0400 to get stressed out by the crowds and general sense of busy-ness, followed by nearly stripping off for airport "security", followed by hoping the poxy flight wasn't delayed by fog, rain, wind, no plane. Then a mega expensive taxi ride in from the airport, or, if you can stomach it with luggage, a really down market tube ride to a station, followed by another to your destination. And you'd probably be late.

Air travel these days is akin to shifting cattle from the farm to the abattoir and I will do absolutely anything to avoid the dehumanising, degrading experience from my life. I have driven 13 hours rather than fly..... and I'm not afraid of flying! I just won't put up with it unless I have to.

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What might be useful is a combined train with roll on-roll off goods wagons onto which you can drive your car, plus optional sleeper compartments and/or seating carriages (so people with caravans etc. have the option of spending the journey in their vehicles, as with the Channel Tunnel trains). The idea of being able to get from one end of the country to another, without 8-9 hours of driving but with the use of your car at the other end is quite an enticing one.

We used to have such trains, but British Rail decided to scrap it due to lack of demand (perhaps the tickets were too expensive - more than the fuel cost and people say No).

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Took the Caledonian sleeper to Inverness in April on my way to John O'Groats and it was fairly pleasant although I would recommend taking a cabin to yourself rather than the "public" carriage.

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Agreed. In the days before flights from the south to Scotland were sanely priced I could see the point of them; not any more. If I was travelling for leisure and not under a time constraint I'd drive, and if I was travelling for business and was under a time constraint I'd fly.

What might be useful is a combined train with roll on-roll off goods wagons onto which you can drive your car, plus optional sleeper compartments and/or seating carriages (so people with caravans etc. have the option of spending the journey in their vehicles, as with the Channel Tunnel trains). The idea of being able to get from one end of the country to another, without 8-9 hours of driving but with the use of your car at the other end is quite an enticing one.

There was such a service to Glasgow in the dim and distant past. I used it in 1975 or 1976 to take a Transit van from London to Glasgow before driveing on to the Stranraer(?) ferry. It sure as hell beat driveing to Glasgow at Cristmas tiem.

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