Sleeper trains in the UK are a near-extinct way to travel. But before they die out completely, I think everyone should try it. I’m a fan of train travel anyway, but this is taking it to a new level.
On arrival at platform 15 you’re greeted by a friendly face who takes your order for a morning drink: tea, coffee or juice. Just this was enough to convince me that travelling by train from London to Inverness was the right way to travel. The cabins are clearly labelled and so much more spacious than their European counterparts, with only two berths per compartment compared to four or six. A sink is cleverly disguised beneath a counter top and there’s just about enough room to stow some luggage.
A visit to the lounge car distinguishes the regulars from the first-timers. Already seats taken, business chats going on, drinks being drunk and all before we’ve left the station. Fortunately a takeaway service was available: hot drinks accompanied by shortbread and back to the comfort of the cabin.
And comfort is not an exaggeration. Crisp white sheets, duvets and full pillows were lit by appropriate lighting and accessible controls for the temperature.
Once en-route, it was a bit squeaky to start with, but possible to get used to the noise and movement of the train, waking only at station stops with the stopping and starting of the train.
Morning arrived and with it views of Aviemore, the pre-ordered tea and more shortbread. Pretty much on time, we rolled into the centre of Inverness in time for breakfast and with the whole day ahead.
A great experience: long may it last!