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Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

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Los Angeles, CA
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Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

In the Spain forum some fellow trip advisors reccomended that I not use the Trenhotel (from Barcelona to Granada). They suggest that it is not romantic, it is uncomfortable and flying is better.

I was also planning to take the Caladonia Sleeper train from Edinburgh to London. Would you say that it is uncomfortable? I'm wondering if some sleepers are better than others or if that goes for all sleeper trains.

I appreciate the advice of anyone who has traveled this way. Also, I notice there are no compartments for a family of 3. Would I be foolish to choose the sleeper seats so we can all be together?

London
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1. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

There is great info on the seat61 site

http://www.seat61.com/CaledonianSleepers.htm

If you were headed somewhere with poor transport alternatives (such as Fort William) then the sleeper is a great plan. I am less convinced for Glasgow / Edinburgh. On the Glasgow/Edinburgh routes, you can often find air fares cheaper than the sleeper - and there is reasonable competition on the EDI-LON air route. Check BA, bmi and easyjet - but remember to factor in transfer costs from the different airports (and luggage costs too on easy)

Everyone reacts differently - but I don't get a great night's sleep on the train. The train wobbles and clatters somewhat - especially in the hilly / winding section through the Cumbrian fells. Other people sleep like a log.

Would you be foolish to go for the seated section? Yes. For that length of time, it would be my idea of purgatory.

Amsterdam, The...
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2. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

I;ve not doen it for years but I suggestied it to my brother (from Stirling to London) instead of the red-eye and he loved it.

General concensus on here is that it is a good product. It menas that you have moe time to spend in your destination as it arrives early morning and you can offset the cast against what a hotel would cost you.

One small thing though since it does not leave until late at night and gets there early morning you have to check out of your hotel and get them to store your bags all day. Same the other end as you won't be able to normally check in until after 1400.

I would not get the seats personally. I guess that is like flying economy to first class.

London
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3. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

I can't vouch for the Barcelona to Granada service - although its critics seem rather vague about exactly what is wrong with it ('not romantic' - oh, please! It's a sleeper train, not the Orient Express).

However the Caledonian (not Caladonia) sleeper from Edinburgh to London is a perfectly good way to travel from Edinburgh to London. Becasue the train has longer for the journey the speeds are kept down, which ensures a smooth ride. And there's something special (romantic, even?) about leaving the heart of one capital city, treating yourself to a nightcap and arriving in another capital city after a night's sleep - not only that, you'll save a night's hotel bill too.

There are no comparments for 3 or 4, but a family travelling together can book two adjacent cabins, and the connecting door betwen them can be opened up - it is normally locked out of use.

Whatever you do, don't book seated accommodation for an overnight journey - now that IS uncomfortable!

Edited: 17 November 2011, 15:52
Los Angeles, CA
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4. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

Thank you, thats great news

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

To echo the thoughts above - I LOVE the Caledonian sleeper. So much fun! And as wirewiper points out, the slower speed ensures a smooth ride. I think bodies react quite well to sleeping perpendicular to direction of travel - I get train-sick facing forwards or backwards, but the sideways orientation of the berths on the sleeper works well (for my inner ears anyway!). There is a mini sink in the cabins, and you get a free little toiletries set. Also you can spend the evening in the lounge car (officially for first class only, but I've never been refused entry), playing cards and having a wee night cap.

Fabulous!

Book early and look for bargain berths, for cheapest offers.

Abs :)

Glasgow, United...
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6. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

I am also a fan of the sleeper. Stepping onto the platform at Euston, central London, not long after 7 am, albeit you can stay on the train until around 8, is great. You are fresh and rested, rather than frazzled after the flight.

You also make much better use of your limited time abroad, giving yourself a full day in Edinburgh, then a full day in London, with transit happening while you sleep.

Here are some tips to getting a good sleep:

* Traveling south, don't try to sleep for the first 50 minutes; the Edinburgh and Glasgow trains join up around 30/40 miles from their respective departure points. A bit of shunting goes on then which could wake you up. My preference is to spend that time in the cafe/ bar, having a wee nightcap - a hot chocolate, or something stronger.

* Adjust the temperature of your cabin down as soon as get there - it is always way too hot.

* Organise your luggage carefully in advance to be able to access easily the toiletries your'll need for the night. Space is pretty limited, and so that can make your life easy.

* You say you are travelling en famile - your youngster is likely to love this form of travel. My own youngsters rated the sleeper above all other forms of long distance travel.

While not exactly glamorous, I do find it has a real romance. Enjoy the midnight departure from Edinburgh, seeing the illuminated city as you leave is very pretty ...but not quite as attractive as the departure from Glasgow, crossing the Clyde, in my view!

Glasgow, United...
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7. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

I've taken the sleeper from Glasgow to London a few times and would say you should try for the bargain berths. I do get woken up by the occasionally jiggly ride but have no trouble getting to sleep again. The sleeper trains are about 40 years old so are not as refined as the more modern day trains. I would not recommend the seated carriage as the seats are cramped and uncomfortable, and other passengers make noise, snore, talk in their sleep etc. Last time I sat up I swore "never again". Berths are fine though.

Aberdeen
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8. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

I used the Tren Hotel last year from Paris to Madrid and it was exellent. To get to Paris I used the Caledonian Sleeper then eurostar. The Caledonian sleeper is not as luxurious as the Tren Hote, the cabins are a lot smaller, and are not ensuite - but the Caledonian is still a great way to travel to London.

Follow the advise given previously - look for bargain berths, have a night cap watching the lights of the city disappear and wake up in another country. Superb! Beats hanging around at airports anyday

Bangor, Maine
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9. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

Yes go for it! I used to travel the sleepers in the 1970s just about every week. I was a lot younger then but believe me they've come a long way - but then so have the prices! The Caledonia isn't cheap but it's the best way overnight. You can solve the problem of being 3 by booking sole occupancy but again you will have to pay for it.

10. Re: Caladonia Sleeper train to London - Good idea?

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