Please sign in to post.

Questions about Sleepers on Night Trains

What is your opinion of sleepers with or without private bathrooms? I'm not sure the in-sleeper bathroom is worth the extra cost. I have never been on a train before so I have no idea what the communal facilities are like. I think I would spring for my own bathroom if the communal bathrooms are similar to those on an airplane (?).

Posted by
768 posts

spring for the deluxe with shower and WC, not just the cabin with a sink. Or maybe that's what you were asking about.

Night trains are disappearing across Europe because hi-speed trains and competition from cheap flights have made 8-12 hour train journeys less in demand. City Night Lines (CNL) the German rail subsidiary has announced they are ending service in 12/2016.

We have taken them before. here are our experiences on 3 trips. One was just fine, no issues. On a 2nd the A/C did not work and the compartment was well into the 90's because the train had been baking in the sun all day. It stayed that way for hours, and opening the window made the compartment very noisy and the wind blast was annoying. Not a good night. On a 3rd trip the assigned car was not actually present on the train. We jumped aboard as the train was leaving and spoke with the conductor, who was brusque and not very helpful. "wait here" and 45 minutes later we had to track him down, he finally put us into a room without the shower/bath we had paid for. Back home I found an email from DB saying our car had moved. Since we showed the conductor our reservation I don't know why he didn't look at his roster and find out where we were supposed to by. DB refused to refund the difference between what we paid for and what we got; our credit card company was no help.

So based on these experiences, there is a 1-in-3 chance of having a good trip. Hopefully these odds are wrong; you pays your money and takes your chances.

Posted by
729 posts

Marty, keep in mind that it is very hard to sleep on a train. If you want a good night's sleep, don't take a sleeper!

Posted by
169 posts

I know you cannot have a great sleep on a train but I enjoyed it when I got the proper setup (like John above I have had the case where there was no AC etc.). But one thing I love about sleepers in night trains as you lay in bed is the noise of the train on the tracks and peering out the window to see the lights of houses in the distance.

Posted by
1878 posts

I don't think a private bathroom is critical. I took an overnight train in a compartment with four others from Madird–Paris in 2001, no private bathroom. Also with my wife a sleeper for the two of us from Paris–Florence. I don't think the train had a shower because I remember a downside being that I had to walk around grungy for half the day. Also took a night train from Barcelona to Granada in 2005, and it worked great. I never had trouble sleeping on the train. My main concern is do I have a clean place to do my dental hygiene—because I am very fastidious about that—and in my experience it's vastly better than a bathroom on a place. If overnight trains are in fact being displaced by flights, I think that's a shame because I have fond memories of all my overnight train journeys, but plane rides, not so much.

Posted by
12964 posts

Hi,

It's inaccurate to say that night trains are fading out across Europe. Lots of people take night trains, maybe not North Americans. Some were taken out by Dec 2015, esp Copenhagen, Paris,. In central Europe the junctions for night trains are Budapest and Munich. Amsterdam, Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Prague, Köln, Hamburg all have have night trains either CNL or EN going through them. On the sleepers I can't offer any advice because when I take the CNL I don't use the sleeper option, likewise with taking the EN night train. No way I am paying for a sleeper or a couchette. The WC on a train is larger in area than what you find on a place. Look at a DB night train map to see how many routes are still in operation, fits my way of traveling just fine.

Sleeping on the night train depends on the person. I have no problems falling asleep on a night train and staying that way until it's day break.

Posted by
197 posts

Marty: Several years ago we tried a night train between Rome and Paris--never again. We couldn't sleep and were miserable the following day in Paris.

Posted by
12964 posts

"...I think it is shame...." Very true, although some routes have been discontinued, there are still numerous routes one can use for night train. A night train map reveals that. One has to be creative in tailoring one's routes.

Posted by
16883 posts

I'm too cheap to spring for the extra amenities and not sure that I want to take a shower on a moving train, anyway.

Posted by
10114 posts

You might have a look at The Man in Seat 61. He offers a lot of info on how the specific cars are outfitted and many pictures. We're taking a night train Rome to Vienna in a couple of weeks, compelte with private bath. I'll try to remember to come back and tell you if we slept....

Posted by
781 posts

I have taken three night trains all with toilet,sink and shower and we slept well.
1 Vienna to Florence got cold when they changed locomotives at Austrian Italian Border
2 Milan to Paris this train was shop warn
3 Paris to Munich very nice clean compartment
I think it works well,hotel on wheels and you land in the middle of town.
Mike

Posted by
49 posts

Hello Marty
We have taken the CNL from Munich to Amsterdam and we had a great experience. We were tired so we slept very well. In fact we wished we could have slept longer. We had a complete w/c but we didn't have time to take a shower because we slept so well. It is nice to have at least a sink and toilet to yourself in the middle of the night. If night trains are becoming a thing of the past, it makes me a little sad. They are really unique and remind me of a time when things weren't so hectic. Hope this helps you.

Posted by
10114 posts

Marty,
Last week we took the train Rome to Vienna. We had a private compartment with a bathroom. While we did not shower (unable to coax hot water out) we did like having our own facility, especially in the middle of the night. We slept pretty well. All-in-all I would do it again.