The return of the sleeper train in Europe

55 posts in this topic

5 minutes ago, kiplette said:

I miss that. Very much wish it was still a thing.

My last trip on it, Kid#1 was a very cute 5 y o, and an elderly couple asked if they could take her to the shop to get treats whilst I played with her 2 y o brother. It was lovely. Pretty sure I should've said no, but a fine time was had by all, luckily :)

It is sad.  I liked the ferries, and the long distance trains through Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.  You felt like you were travelling and you were surrounded by all sorts of people.  Ok, ha, not always good.  Remember sleazy guys, so you had to be quick witted.  But of course that also taught me a lot when I was 16 or so doing that stuff.

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2 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

that also taught me a lot when I was 16 or so doing that stuff.

 

Oh yes, Portsmouth to St Malo to stay with a family and practice French when I was 15 - a dude suggested as we got onboard that 'we' set up camp behind the coke vending machine and it would be very 'comfortable' - I found a random bench in the ladies' loo and kipped on that behind a locked door ;)

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Just now, kiplette said:

 

Oh yes, Portsmouth to St Malo to stay with a family and practice French when I was 15 - a dude suggested as we got onboard that 'we' set up camp behind the coke vending machine and it would be very 'comfortable' - I found a random bench in the ladies' loo and kipped on that behind a locked door ;)

Ha.  I was on a youth camping trip to Brittany in the early 1970s.  On the ferry on the way back from St Malo, one lot had managed to buy a chicken that was "prêt à cuire" and mistaken it for ready to eat.  So, the 16 year old guys suggested the pretty 15 year go the the ferry kitchen, flirt, and get someone to cook the chicken.  It worked, and they got chips and stuff.  Arseholes.  Spent the rest of the journey hiding her from the cook who wanted payback.  Worked out okay though.  Different times.

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There are lots of cruise ship hotels on the Rhein, Donau etc. Trouble is, you are not allowed to make your own meals😕

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I believe the Italians are leading the way in trains with sleepers at the moment. Things there have apparently changed a lot in the last 40 years. There was a time when there was a real danger that you would be gassed and robbed on the overnight train between Naples and...?? Happened to a friend of mine.

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9 hours ago, murphaph said:

Who else likes sleepers? Where would you like to go on one? 

 

Let's book a trip :) 

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1 hour ago, tor said:

 

Let's book a trip :) 

And have your Thursday beer evenings in Florence! Now, that's a grand idea!😂

Back in tbose days ( 70s ), there used to be a book called Europe on 5 dollars a day or something like that- probably a 1.000 dollars a day thrse dwys😂) and in Florence I remember an Italian restaurant iwner waving people into his place, wave wfter wave!

I was one of them. Hardly wny money.😂

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When I was 17 (a long time ago),  I did London to Frankfurt and back to visit a friend.  I met all sorts of people - felt slightly uncomfortable at times as it was all in compartments, and was at times alone with rather strange, but in the end, friendly (in a good way) men.  I didn't go overnight, but left London at approx 9am and arrived in Frankfurt at midnight.  

 

Some years ago, my husband and I did a long trip by Amtrak.  We started and finished in Chicago but visited Denver, Flagstaff, Santa Fe, Kansas City and probably other places too.  We only had a sleeper compartment for one night, which was great but the seats are big and recline a long way back without disturbing your neighbours, so we did overnight trips in regular seats without a problem.  The trains also have dining cars and you get put with other people, so it was fun to meet all sorts of people.  They were mostly older people who were scared of flying, if I remember rightly.  One of my favourite memories is when we had the sleeper compartment, and the train stopped for a couple of hours in the middle of the desert.  There was loads of thunder and lightning but no rain. We saw so much more than we would have flying and we covered too far a distance for driving in a reasonable amount of time.   It was a fantastic trip and I would love to do it again. 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, john g. said:

And have your Thursday beer evenings in Florence! Now, that's a grand idea!😂

Did London Florence a few times..  Also London Sienna. Getting on the train in France after the ferry was so different, no platform so a struggle with a back pack.  The a huge long train snaking through France Germany Switzerland.  No food, no water not even a train conductor the whole way..  The compartment near mine was an older couple, trying to get their severly disabled daughter to Italy.  She had a drip, and was stretchered on by them.  They ran out of water.  We gave them all we had.  In Switzerland I dashed off the train and got 2 litres paying in a lot of sterling.  Different times John.

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27 minutes ago, sluzup said:

When I was 17 (a long time ago),  I did London to Frankfurt and back to visit a friend.  I met all sorts of people - felt slightly uncomfortable at times as it was all in compartments, and was at times alone with rather strange, but in the end, friendly (in a good way) men.  I didn't go overnight, but left London at approx 9am and arrived in Frankfurt at midnight.  

 

Some years ago, my husband and I did a long trip by Amtrak.  We started and finished in Chicago but visited Denver, Flagstaff, Santa Fe, Kansas City and probably other places too.  We only had a sleeper compartment for one night, which was great but the seats are big and recline a long way back without disturbing your neighbours, so we did overnight trips in regular seats without a problem.  The trains also have dining cars and you get put with other people, so it was fun to meet all sorts of people.  They were mostly older people who were scared of flying, if I remember rightly.  One of my favourite memories is when we had the sleeper compartment, and the train stopped for a couple of hours in the middle of the desert.  There was loads of thunder and lightning but no rain. We saw so much more than we would have flying and we covered too far a distance for driving in a reasonable amount of time.   It was a fantastic trip and I would love to do it again. 

 

 

Great memories. When I was a student some pals and I took Amtrak from NYC to San Diego via DC and Chicago taking 6 weeks to do it. We saw so much of the country that we would never have seen any other way I suspect. The very large and generously reclining seats made it just about possible to sleep on them. We had no money for sleeper compartments

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23 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

Did London Florence a few times..  Also London Sienna. Getting on the train in France after the ferry was so different, no platform so a struggle with a back pack.  The a huge long train snaking through France and Germany.  No food, no water not even a train conductor the whole way..  The compartment near mine was an older couple, trying to get their severley disabled daughter to Italy.  She had a drip, and was stretchered on by them.  They ran out of water.  We gave them all we had.  In Switzerland I dashed off the train and got 2 litres paying in a lot of sterling.  Different times John.

Indeed, snowingain. And we were younger! 🙁

These days, even imagining 2-3 days on a train without a shower, a decent bed.. ouch.

 

When we left Hamburg for Crete ten years ago, we took the car- train to Italy. Lousy comfort. Smelly, uncomfortable. Yeah, our dream was there- ab dafuer.

 

Tough back then but I was a child-like 60. Now, bugger it. a bit more comfort, please.

Actually, not true. We did Hamburg-Leipzig on the train and vice versa at Xmas and it was tiring. With a dog and luggage. And the leg room. Ok, and the changing of trains and oh the Gleis hat sich aendert. And I remember  trying to sleep - even as a youngster - on the route Athens-Hamburg in 1971.. that was tough..about 3 days without a bed as such.

Viva la revolucion. Hm, viva la cama!😂

( Long live the bed!)

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37 minutes ago, john g. said:

And have your Thursday beer evenings in Florence! Now, that's a grand idea!😂

Italian beer? Are you serious? I could join you in Munich and bring a case of Augustiner or Tegernsee Helles on board 👻. You don‘t have that in the North. In Bavaria we keep the best stuff ourselves :)

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15 minutes ago, murphaph said:

Great memories. When I was a student some pals and I took Amtrak from NYC to San Diego via DC and Chicago taking 6 weeks to do it. We saw so much of the country that we would never have seen any other way I suspect. The very large and generously reclining seats made it just about possible to sleep on them. We had no money for sleeper compartments

In 1992, I did Davis, CA-Denver, stayed several days with my best friend, then Denver-Chicago, with my 2 kids who were 4 & 5 at the time.  It was fantastic. Also, no sleepers - too expensive for us.  The cars with the big glass windows were awesome for viewing!  I had grown up in New Orleans and had never seen places like Utah before then. 😊

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8 hours ago, sluzup said:

Munich to Rome sleeper options get booked up well in advance - check when they get released and make a note.  We once went from Munich to Venice NOT in a sleeper, longest night of my life.  We have done Munich to Rome in the 6 berth couchette and also in a proper sleeper compartment.  Both were great but for the 6 berth couchette it is best if you can book the whole couchette.  Possible if you are 4-6 people I think?  We did it once just the two of us, so shared with strangers, and once we were a group of 6 - was great fun.

My little boys - 8 and 3 - and I did this. It was delightful, though a little crowded. I think the other travelers were apprehensive about my children, but the little boys were good and in the morning, as we came across the causeway, one of the other passengers sang O Sole Mio - he worked in the Swedish Opera, and it was a very nice treat.

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years ago, my company want me to go on a training session in Wilhelmshaven last minute, of course all flights were booked so its was the train

 

Left Munich at about 7.30am in the morning, got to Wilhelmshaven by the time it was dark. 

 

I do not remember much about the course I had to go on but I do remember the people were so friendly, they took us to the place where the Bismarck ( or sister ship was tied up) with a brass plate to note it.

 

Sure we got to know each other better on this trip, but travelling across Germany, there was not so much to look at out of the windows, mainly people tried to sleep or read a book.

 

 

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There is even less to see now, because Schallschutzwaende / sound protection walls have been put beside many lines.

 

On the line between Frankfurt/M and Koeln there is not much to see, the trains go so fast that you can not enjoy the landscape. 

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*Sigh* Wistful *Siiiiiiiigh!* I loved the sleeper trains. Spent nany a night on the Münich to Hamburg sleeper, psssht, pussht, pussssssshed, lovely pneumatic suspension, nice and quiet with a breakfast just north of Soltau.

Or working in Munich, and the last train to Augsburg was the Wien to Oostende express, leaving HBH at quarter past eleven, I would stand in the rear carriage, envious of those who were on their way to the coast.

My favorite however was the car train from either Munich or Basel to Hamburg. I would ride to the station and be there around six-ish ready for loading anytime between eight and ten. At eleven with a load of other bikers and more than a few beers under our belts the train would set off. Next morning in Hamburg we would go to our machines and ride off the train along the platform and out of the main concourse into Hamburg.

I always wanted to take the TEE somewhere, but that was first class only and by the time I could afford it the service was stopped, pity really, I would have liked the memory.

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10 hours ago, sluzup said:

Munich to Rome sleeper options get booked up well in advance - check when they get released and make a note.  We once went from Munich to Venice NOT in a sleeper, longest night of my life.  We have done Munich to Rome in the 6 berth couchette and also in a proper sleeper compartment.  Both were great but for the 6 berth couchette it is best if you can book the whole couchette.  Possible if you are 4-6 people I think?  We did it once just the two of us, so shared with strangers, and once we were a group of 6 - was great fun.

My little boys - 8 and 3 - and I did this. It was delightful, though a little crowded. I think the other travelers were apprehensive about my children, but the little boys were good and in the morning, as we came across the causeway, one of the other passengers sang O Sole Mio - he worked in the Swedish Opera, and it was a very nice treat.

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12 hours ago, Fietsrad said:

There is even less to see now, because Schallschutzwaende / sound protection walls have been put beside many lines.

 

On the line between Frankfurt/M and Koeln there is not much to see, the trains go so fast that you can not enjoy the landscape. 

Funnily enough the sleepers often don't run on these upgraded lines because they cost much more to use and speed is not of the essence on a sleeper. For example the route into Basel from Freiburg has been bypassed by a high speed line which the sleeper ignores as it uses the old one. 

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