Explore the options for catching the sleeper train in Europe and beyond
Sleeper trains are exciting, adventurous, comfortable and practical. They can be a great way to travel long distances in record time, covering long expanses overnight as you rest up in comfort, arriving ready for action the next day. Services will vary according to country and operator, but there are a few factors you can expect across the board.
SLEEPER TRAINS IN EUROPE
What to expect: When you first board your sleeper train, a designated sleeper attendant will greet you, check your tickets and look over your reservations. They’ll point you in the direction of your compartment, where you’ll be able to store your luggage and settle in. Sleeper attendants might take your passports so you aren’t bothered by checks overnight. Depending on the time of day, you’ll find seats or beds all made up and ready to sleep in. Your attendant will convert seats to beds in the evenings. Compartments have both normal locks and security locks that can’t be opened from the outside. You’ll likely have a wash basin in your room, and toilets will be located at the end of the corridors.
Sleeping: Sleeper trains in Europe can be hotels on rails. Trains will usually offer three classes of service, and you Railbookers Travel Consultant will be able to help you choose the accommodations that are right for you. Our European rail holidays all include sleeper accommodations, which will usually consist of a room of two (or three) bunk beds. You will normally be able to upgrade to a single compartment to have a room to yourself. Beds will be made up in the evening with linen and a pillow, and are cosy and comfortable.
Luggage: You will be able to store your luggage in your sleeper compartment. Slot bags under your bed or store them on the rack above the window or recess above the door.
Dining: You will often be able to purchase snacks and drinks from your sleeper attendant. Many sleeper trains feature restaurant cars too, where you will be able to tuck into full meals or snacks. Of course, we would always recommend taking provisions for the length of your journey – and don’t forget a corkscrew! Breakfasts are sometimes provided in the mornings on sleeper trains. Speak to your Travel Consultant about whether this is applicable to your route.
SLEEPER TRAINS IN THE USA
What to expect: If you’ve chosen to upgrade your train accommodations to a ‘roomette’ (sleeper compartment) or bedroom accommodations, you’ll be show to your compartment by a ticket attendant when you board the train. You might be asked to show your passport, too. Many journeys will also boast observation cars (in some cases only for the use of passengers in roomettes or bedrooms). These will feature floor to ceiling windows – perfect for watching the world go by! If you are travelling in a roomette, hot showers will be available at the end of each compartment. Bedroom passengers get showers in their en suite bathrooms!
Sleeping: Sleeper accommodations on Amtrak trains are categorised as either roomettes or bedrooms. Roomettes feature two seats that convert into a bed at night. The upper berth bunk drops from the ceiling. Bedrooms are much larger, with en suite bathrooms, a sofa during daylight hours and a large lower bunk at night. All bedding, soap and towels will be provided for you.
Luggage: You will be able to your luggage in your roomette or bedroom. Provided that both your departure and arrival stations offer the service, you will also be able to check two large items of luggage free of charge if you choose.
Dining: If you upgrade to bedroom or roomette accommodations, your meals and soft drinks will be included. Each train has a different menu, but you can expect popular favourites and crowd pleasing dishes. Coffee, tea, juice and water will also be complimentary throughout the duration of your journey. Meals are served in designated dining cars, the perfect place to admire the scenery and meet other likeminded travellers.