A bevy of new sleeper trains are cropping up throughout the region—and offering perks like spacious beds, room service, and craft cocktails.
By J.R. Patterson, December 11, 2021
As the last lights of Inverness, Scotland, disappeared into the gloom of night, I was pouring my second glass of Chianti on board the newly refurbished Caledonian Sleeper train.
The wine was one of the essentials I’d packed—along with a toothbrush and a good book—to help me relax in my cabin, which also had been recently revamped.
The experience was more akin to a moving hotel than a train, with double beds, room service, and en suite showers. Night trains like the Caledonian Sleeper—most featuring glamorous design and spacious cabins— were once everywhere in Europe.
Among these overnight rail routes were the likes of the Blue Train through the south of France, the Elipsos from Paris to Madrid, and the Night Ferry from London to Paris (a train that loaded all of its cars onto a boat to cross the English Channel).
All offered travelers the chance to eat, drink, and spend the night in style, arriving in a new locale by daybreak. But with the advent of air travel and cheap flights, many iconic sleeper routes were discontinued; what few remained were indeed opulent, but out of reach for the average tourist (think the Belmond Venice Simplon Orient Express, which costs around $4,000 per night).