Trains (Sleeper Train) in Egypt


Aug 12th, 2002, 08:39 AM
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Trains (Sleeper Train) in Egypt


Part of a proposed itinerary for a trip to Egypt is to travel from Cairo to Aswan via Sleeper Train.

According to the operator, this is in a 1st Class carriage - can anyone enlighten me as to what to expect?

Thank You.
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Aug 12th, 2002, 03:16 PM
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I took that 1st class sleeper train on two separate occasions last year. The first time, I was alone in the two-person compartment. The second time, I was with my husband. I quite enjoyed both trips.

Boarding in Cairo can be a bit of a zoo. If you can manage your own suitcase/bags, DO IT! Don't let the mafioso porters get a hold of anything! Repeat "LA SHUKRAN" no thank you) firmly left and right as you get directed to the proper car in the front end of the train.

If you do need help with your bags, "LA SHUKRAN" until you spot one that doesn't seem as aggressive to you. Have your tip *in exact change* ready to give him when he leaves your bags at the entrance of the car. (min. 10 pounds - if the bags are heavy or you have more than one bag, give more). He will, out of duty, argue with you about the tip - ignore him.

Before you board, there is a cafeteria-type coffee shop in the Cairo station for 1st class passengers. It's a quiet place amongst all that bustle to wait.

There is a conductor assigned to the 1st class carriage. He'll show you to your compartment. Again, if you need help with your bags, he'll likely have a young man take it (again, have a min. 5 pound note immediately handy).

There is a space (where the pillows are stored) where a good sized bag could be hoisted up and stored out of the way. Make sure that you don't need anything out of it!! Prepare everything you need for the train ahead of time and keep this with you in a handy bag.

The lay-out of the compartment is simple: two side-by side seats facing forward. A large window on the right-hand side. A sink with running water tucked in front. An adjustable side tray in between the two seats. Each seat has its own table that can be set up. Adjustable lights and reading lights are handy.

You ask the conductor when you want the bottom bed made ready. Both times, the sheets were clean and fresh, the mattress and pillow comfortable.

A meal is served shortly after you board (both times it was chicken) and a breakfast is served in the morning. You can purchase a small bottle of not-bad wine to accompany your dinner.

I kept my window shade up, so that I could see inside all the lit windows that we passed in the evening and to see the countryside and the Nile at first light.

If you don't sleep soundly, bring earplugs or a walkman to help block out the train & station sounds. Personally, I find that the motion knocks me right out! (that, along with the wine at dinner...).

Toilets are at one end of the car. Bring your own toilet paper, as they do seem to run out. Pratice your crouch - you should not actually sit down, but sort of hover...

If you are travelling solo, you will share a compartment only with someone of your own gender. Apart from the conductor, you are only likely to see someone else from the 1st class carriage in the hallway. Access to this carriage is restricted.

As for any train, keep your compartment locked.

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