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Another option for getting around Europe.....

I had a brief look but didn't see this posted elsewhere on the forum. It looks like there will be a new night train service starting in a year or so, which will be a step up from the previous options......

https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/bus-train/midnight-trains-luxe-sleeper-trains-connect-paris-with-europe

Given the increasing emphasis on the environment, this may draw some customers from the budget airlines on some routes.

Posted by
1154 posts

Has anyone ever heard of people taking a night train more than once? Clanging, banging, lurching, at every small town along the way. We arrived with not jet lag, but train lag, if such a thing exists. Maybe we took the mail train instead of a high speed train.

Posted by
3209 posts

Has anyone ever heard of people taking a night train more than once?

Yes. I've done it many times myself.

Posted by
2233 posts

We've done it twice, and my wife assures me that unless I want to find myself a suddenly single man there will never be a third.

Posted by
85 posts

Tried it once - Nice to Paris. Saved on hotel room night but inconvenience by noise, stops, lurching, etc as mentioned previously made it not worth it. Rather take the TGV and enjoy a restful night at destination.

Posted by
1122 posts

If you can fall asleep anywhere anytime, the night train would be a great option. However, if you are a light sleeper, IMO it isn't worth it as many have mentioned here about stops and starts, noise, etc. Why arrive at your destination and be sluggish from a poor nights sleep?

Posted by
2472 posts

We’ve taken them 3 times over the years, the first without a private compartment, the others with, makes a big difference. We would take them again if it fits into our schedule.

Posted by
3209 posts

When you travel with night trains, you get what you pay for. If you want to save money and get couchette tickets, you will not sleep as well as if you spend a bit more on sleeper tickets.

Posted by
224 posts

"Has anyone ever heard of people taking a night train more than once?"

Yes, twice, couchette first time, private compartment second time. I agree with others above, much better experience and sleep with the private compartment. It’s the convenience in addition to the adventurous fun aspect that means I will do it again and am very excited to see more night train routes in the future.

Posted by
27744 posts

"Has anyone ever heard of people taking a night train more than once?"

I have. Me (and my wife in the last 30 years, solo prior). US, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, France.

Posted by
260 posts

One overnight train from Taormina to Florence was one too many. For me, one and done! The train food and bed was awful. The toilets awful too. We have looked into the car train from Virginia? to Florida. To get a sleeping room it costs an extra $400 for one night almost doubling the cost for a trip 4 pm to 8-9 am the next morning. Trains are just transportation hopefully for short trips. The exception is the “bullet” trains we’ve taken in Spain, France and Japan. They go so fast overnight trips aren’t necessary.

Posted by
16822 posts

Done it twice within 3 days of each other. Munich to Venice and return 3 days later. This was back in the day of DB's City Nightline service with 2nd class compartment. That way we got 4 days in Venice and spending only 2 nights in a very nice room with spacious balcony (pricey). Also saved a night in Munich during Oktoberfest with inflated room rates. Speaking of which, we went directly to the Hauptbahnhof from the Wies'n after a day and a night partaking in the usual activities that take place there. Perhaps being slightly anesthetized helped in sleeping on the train. Return was awakened by a crowd of young men boarding in Woergl in the early hours on their way to the celebrations at the end of the line.

Posted by
18311 posts

I've spent 11 nights on trains in my life, and enjoyed it immensely.

My first nine times were in this country, in the sixties, when I went from Seattle to and from college in NY by train, 3 nights each way (NP North Coast Limited and NYC 20th Century Limited). Back then, on a coach ticket, you could book a $7/night "Slumber coach" roomette. It was half the width of the train (less aisle) and had one chair and a toilet/sink combo. The roomettes were staggered high and low, so each compartment was only about 4' long, with the beds dovetailing. It took two nights to go from Seattle to Chicago. I never had a problem sleeping, but the train kept moving, so there was no lurching.

My only night train experience in Europe was an overnight train from Brussels to Heidelberg in the 80s. It wouldn't have been bad except the train was three hours late into Brussels because it had to wait in Ostende for ferries coming across the stormy channel. I naively thought the train would try to make up the time and set my alarm clock for the scheduled arrival time in Heidelberg, and woke up in Cologne, then couldn't get back to sleep.

My last night train experience was a trip on the Amtrak Zephyr from Reno, NV, to Denver a few years ago. Again, the trip was great, spectacular scenery, and I had no trouble sleeping, but Amtrak seems to think they are running an "attraction" and don't have to be price competitive. The trip was very expensive V-V air travel.

The advantage of night train travel vs air is that you basically use "dead" time to travel. What else are you going to do from, say, 8 PM to 8 AM, except get ready for bed and sleep. If you fly, you have a nights accommodation cost in the first town, get up and prepare to go to the airport, take transportation to the airport, spend the usual time at the airport, going through security waiting to board, boarding, flight time, deplaning, finding transportation into town, traveling into town. then another nights accommodation cost in the next town. So you spend a day and two nights getting somewhere that takes you a night on the train.

Posted by
1760 posts

“Has anyone ever heard of people taking a night train more than once?”

Just once, Rome to Frankfurt. No sleep, walked around the a zombie the entire next day. Wouldn’t do it again.

Posted by
281 posts

I agree with Barbara. The private compartment makes all the difference. I have done it a number of times and loved not spending time in a hotel at night but rater on the go while resting for the next adventure, and have done it both here in the States as well as abroad. I have to admit that sitting up in coach leaves a LOT to be desired! But given the option of rising early to board transportation to our next destination or leaving in the evening with a bed to stretch out on, and arriving rested in the morning, the night train wins hands down! I even would choose the overnight train in Asia which is of a different caliber :)

Posted by
8632 posts

We've done it twice, and my wife assures me that unless I want to find myself a suddenly single man there will never be a third.

Could be worse, she could have threatened to become a widow.

Posted by
12897 posts

Thanks for the post.

Prior to Corona, I was able to go every year after retiring in 2008. On all these trips I took anywhere from one to three night trains per trip. The last one was in Oct 2019, Wien Hbf to Hannover Hbf....absolutely no problems. Who rides them? Hardly ever any Americans, all Europeans and a few Asians, depends.

Taking night trains is part of my transportation options. I never believed that night trains would be a thing of the past when you see which cities serve as night train hubs and junction points. Great that they are returning and expanding.

Posted by
260 posts

Reading this post, ya either love or hate night trains. An overnight bus ride in Turkey was more comfortable than our overnight on a italian train 20 years ago. Try sleeping on a train and make your own decision on the pluses and minuses. We try to relocate less than a half days travel making overnight trains a mute question.

Posted by
18311 posts

I'm with you, Racquet. I tend to make shorter trips which would not need a night train.

My routing also makes night trains irrelevant. I have made at least 10 trips over 4 hour (three over 6 hours) in the last 20 years (250+ days). However, since most of my stays are in smaller towns without night train service, by the time I got to a town with night train service and from a town with night train service, I wouldn't spend enough time in the night train compartment to make it economically justified.

Posted by
1782 posts

Yes, I’ve done it close to 20 times and will continue. You’ll get a better night’s sleep if you don’t share a couchette and sleep in a private car, but it’s cheaper to sleep in a couchette.

Posted by
1820 posts

Yes, back in the 70'[s I can't count the number of sleeper car trips I made between Edinburgh and London or vice versa.
Of course, I think it was a bit more comfy then, not so cramped as now perhaps.
And they brought you coffee and shortbread just before arrival!