Night trains

Rick likes night trains. Have you taken them? Do you like them? How do you find sleeping on them??...impossible...not bad...pretty easy...comfortable? Do you have to worry about security of your luggage while you are sleeping? As you are approaching your destination do they wake you or are you on your own? Are these night trains non stop from large city to large city or do they make many stops along the way? (I was considering Venice to Munich)

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3586 posts

I.Have.Taken.My.Last.Night.Train.God.Help.Me. Impossible. Hellish. And this is coming from someone who actually likes the rocking motion! Luggage is safe, with precautions. They are supposed to wake you; whether or not it's enough time for you is another matter...and your arrival city may come at 5:45...ugh. Your train into Munich would arrive at 6:15; they'll wake you anywhere from 5:30 to 6:00. At least Munich is the terminus for this route (I think...); you don't have the worry of missing your stop and going on to Hamburg :-( IF you've slept at all, you'll be waaay ahead. You probably can't check into your Munich hotel yet (too early), but they will probably allow you to leave your luggage there while you wander around, zombie-like, killing time until you can check in. Ugh. And these need to be booked ASAP because the availability can be a problem. The last train I took was this very one, in reverse (Fall 2011). A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came along after I'd done most of my trip planning, so I had to plug in this barbarous n/t instead of taking the day train. There were no flights b/n the two places that didn't go through London first (took longer than the train would and no $$$ savings), or Luftansa would've been happy to fly me at around $700. I chose €59 and the n/t. Had to. I luuuurrve the idea of the n/t, but in reality...no. The nice thing is, this day trip has 0 or 1 train changes, and it's a pleasant train ride. Rick may like them, but he obviously runs on some other fuel than I do...so he has some reserves that I don't LOL! He also books a cabin for himself; a nice luxury. I'd spend the €49 on an advance purchase ticket online and enjoy a day of train riding. But that's me ;-)

Posted by Morgan
Spokane, WA, USA
27 posts

My husband and I took the night train from Rome to Venice in the summer of 2010, per Rick's suggestion that we would save paying for a night in a hotel and gain an extra day of sightseeing. We shared a cabin with a young couple from Hong Kong and they were wonderful to chat with. In terms of sleeping I found it hard to sleep. The train stopped at what felt like every station along the way from Rome to Venice, which meant a lot of speeding up, slowing down, and whistle blowing. I felt very safe, and I was not worried about my luggage. There was an attendant monitoring the comings and goings in the car. The attendant also let us know when we were arriving at our destination.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

Did you see the thread "Night Train Trepidation" under TRANSPORTATION that is still fresh?

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3355 posts

I don't particularly care for traveling in a couchette. I find it hard to sleep with the constant clanging noise of the train wheels. They made sense in the past before the advent of low cost air travel, but today I'll take a plane any day for a long distance travel. Munich to Venice flights are limited to Lufthansa/Air Dolomiti, but maybe the price is not that different from the train. The Munich-Venice train segment is not particularly long either, therefore I don't know if I'd do it by night, especially because you'll probably have to change trains in Verona. The best train I see departs Munich late morning at 11:31am and arrives to Venice Santa Lucia 6h39m later. It's the only train with no train change required. Considering that between Munich and Venice you'll be going through some of the most beautiful outstanding views of the Dolomites mountains, I would rather travel during the day. Your nose will be against that window admiring the views and the 6 and a half hour travel will fly by before you realize it.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8761 posts

Jackie, have a look at http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/helpline/index.cfm/rurl/topic/95817/night-train-trepidation.html which is a current thread elsewhere on this Helpline, for starters. Everybody is different but only a few here are strongly in favour of them. I've taken my last night train, personally. To try to give my reply to your specific questions I have retyped them here with numbers: 1. Have you taken them? 2. Do you like them? 3. How do you find sleeping on them??..(a).impossible..(b).not bad..(c).pretty easy..(d).comfortable? 4. Do you have to worry about security of your luggage while you are sleeping? 5. As you are approaching your destination do they wake you or are you on your own? 6. Are these night trains non stop from large city to large city or do they make many stops along the way? 7. (I was considering Venice to Munich) 1. Yes. 2. Not much. I've ridden quite a few, US, Canada, Europe. Never sleep properly, lots of noise, not the nicest toilets, bunks very small for me, bunks hard. It was OK when I was younger and we could look out at the moonlit countryside while unable to sleep but not now. And they arrive too early in the day. 3. See 2. Letter answer - between "b" and "a" - much closer to "a".
4. Only a little in private sleepers. I wouldn't use couchettes so dunno. 5. It depends. 6. Never non-stop. That's how they drag out a short journey to last all night. Often there are station calls too. number 7 on the next post ....

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8761 posts

... more ... 7. Venezia Santa Lucia dep 20:57 CNL40462 has scheduled station stops at Venezia Mestre dep 21:09 Treviso Centrale dep 21:29 Conegliano dep 21:50 Pordenone dep 22:12 Udine dep 22:47 Tarvisio Boscoverde dep 00:20
Salzburg Hbf dep 04:28 München Hbf arrival 06:15

Posted by courtney
London, UK
68 posts

hi, my brother and i did a night train and it was great. we went from amsterdam to prague and i couldnt really complain. we had a nice meal and slept decently. our cabin was incredibly small and we couldnt really do much other then get our luggage in and sit on our beds, if you could call it a be, but we were fine. I remember the food being really nice and all in all we both found it enjoyable. personally i wouldnt do it again as i now have 2 kids and the thought of that small space with 2 small ones ..... NIGHTMARE! I do remember there being a good deal of noise from the clanging of something maybe wheels but once i fell asleep on my not so comfy bed i was ok.

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3355 posts

In my earlier post I mistakenly thought you were going from Munich to Venice. Apparently it's the reverse. No biggies. I suggest one of these two daily options: Morning option (with train change in Verona) ES9712: Depart Venice: 08:50- Arr. Verona: 10:00 EC80: Dep Verona: 11:02 - Arr. Munich: 16:25 Afternoon option (no train changes):
EC86: Depart Venice: 13:34 - Arr. Munich: 20:25 It's faster than a night train and it allows enjoyment of Alpine views. Check the fares for your dates of travel (the afternoon option for the day after tomorrow is currently priced at Euro 87.50), then check Air Dolomiti/Lufthansa for airfare comparison, and go for the most suitable option. Air Dolomiti/Lufthansa is the only non stop VCE-MUC, however if you are willing to change planes somewhere there would be more options (but it would take longer).

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
5777 posts

It may all be a matter of having the right expectations. Just don't expect The Orient Express from the 1920s as seen in the movies. :-) Personally, it sounds like my idea of hell. But clearly some people enjoy it. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to travel.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2395 posts

You've pretty much gotten the standard answers and have to choose whether it is right for you. I will emphasize that there are no concerns for security or your luggage (unless in a reclining seat in an open car). The cabins do lock from the inside and bags go overhead or underneath in your couchette. Though having a lot of luggage with a full couchette can be problematic. Lots of options for most night trains: just a reclining seat in a regular car (horrific!), a shared couchette (4-6 people or less if not full) and a private cabin. Most private cabins have a least a sink and toilet. Some couchettes have a sink but toilets are down the hall. Some cars even have showers - did that once...

Posted by Jackie
Bett
90 posts

Thanks so much to everyone. This is exactly what I was thinking...sleepless night and so traveling during the day seems like the best way to go!