Wednesday, 9 March 2011

All aboard the sleeper train!

I've been meaning to write about sleeper trains for a while, because having been on them a few times now, and having mentioned them to lots of people, I've been really surprised by how many people just don't know they exist in the UK.

They do exist! Two of them, to be exact. There's the Caledonian Sleeper, which goes to the Scottish Highlands, and there's the Night Riviera, which goes to Cornwall.

Sleeper cabins are either single or double (the latter come with bunk beds). A family can get adjoining cabins, which means you can open the inter-connecting door, thus giving you much more space. They are actually a great way to transport children - ! - because they of course get very excited by the adventure of it all (as do I, to be honest), and yet you can contain them in the cabin, rather than have them run up and down the train, annoying people.

Also, the rhythm of the train will soon send them off to sleep (that's not just my optimistic theory, it genuinely is the case, with my daughter at least). Whether the same can be said for adults is another matter, though the beds are comfortable and there are actual duvets. Yes, duvets on a train. (Note: in the above picture, I am merely pretending to be asleep - drat. Clementine, however, isn't pretending at all!)

As someone with a bad back, I love to lie down (nothing to do with being a lazy so-and-so, oh, no...), and just the thought of sitting all the way to Scotland and back has me reaching for the Tramadol. Another point I hardly need to mention is that the carbon emissions are going to be vastly lower than if you chose to fly. They just need to make taking the sleeper a more economically viable option (though you can get some good-priced tickets) and it would be the obvious choice for most of us.

In short, nothing beats getting on the train in London and, upon waking, pulling up the blind to see snow-topped mountains rolling past. 'Where are we?' is the of course the obligatory first question of the day!

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