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One easy and relatively cheap way to get to Luxor from Cairo is on the overnight trains operated by Abela. A compartment is fairly reasonably priced and allows you to travel overnight, arriving in Luxor early the next morning.
Regular seats are cheaper, and a more inexpensive way still is the first-class section of a regular train. The lights are always on and the air-conditioning functions sporadically, but the first-class trains otherwise are comfortable enough—at least until you need a bathroom break: Come prepared with your own tissue, seat covers, hand sanitizer, closed-toe shoes, and a strong constitution. From Cairo to Luxor, a one-way ticket is £E90 in first class. At this writing, foreigners traveling by train from Cairo were all but forbidden to take second-class trains and could only buy first-class tickets for travel at night; by day, Egyptian commuters are the priority passengers. You can also take the train from Luxor to Aswan, day or night; fares are £E41 first class.
Comfortable sleeper cars run by private company Abela make the daily trip to Luxor from the cavernous Ramses Station in central Cairo. Buy tickets at least 10 days in advance at the Abela office in the station, or arrange for tickets through a local travel agent. At this writing, there are four trains daily, two heading south and two heading north. Train 84 leaves Cairo at 8 pm, reaching Luxor at 5:05 am; Train 86 departs Cairo at 9:10 pm, arriving in Luxor at 6:10 am. For the return trip, Train 85 departs Luxor at 9:40 pm, reaching Cairo at 6:45 am; Train 87 leaves Luxor at 12:40 am and arrives in Cairo at 9:30 am. The cost (per journey) of a single couchette with dinner and breakfast is $80; a double with dinner and breakfast costs $60 per person. These fares must be paid in a foreign currency, not Egyptian pounds.
Abela. Ramses Train Station. 02/2574–9474. www.sleepingtrains.com.