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Caledonian Sleeper Train: any experience with it?

Caledonian Sleeper Train: any experience with it?

May 31st, 2007, 10:39 AM
  #1  
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Caledonian Sleeper Train: any experience with it?

Hi,
We are a family of four (kids ages 11 and 13) travelling to Scotland and London in August. We need to get from Inverness to London during midweek. Of course, we are seriously considering flying since the fares are not expensive. However, I am also toying with the idea of taking the sleeper train.

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has travelled this way, especially anyone with children. Is it possible to sleep? Is there enough of a difference between first and second class to make it worth the extra money? I can get bargain berths for 19 pounds right now which is quite a deal. Just don't want to arrive in London exhausted (I know we will have to forego a shower...).

Any guidance would be great.
ccrosner is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 10:52 AM
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this isn't going to help much - but really there is no way to tell if you or your children can sleep on a train. Some people have absolutely no problems and the train movement lulls them to sleep. For others it is pure agony and worse than trying to sleep on a red eye flight.

For the "adventure factor" alone though it might be a fun thing, especially for the kids.

If it were me - I'd definitely opt for 1st class. But that depends on how much you want to "rough it"
janisj is online now  
May 31st, 2007, 11:02 AM
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I've traveled first class on the Caledonian Sleepers and the compartments were as comfy as on any night train of the hundreds i've taken in Europe.

2nd class similarly for 2nd class sleepers

kids will love - got breakfast in my cabin in the morning.
PalenQ is online now  
May 31st, 2007, 11:15 AM
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There is only one sort of sleeping compartment on these trains. If you pay the first class fare, the top bunk is folded away to give a single-berth compartment; if you pay the second-class fare, the compartment has upper and lower bunks. I think first-class passengers get a little more for breakfast.
I find them quite comfortable myself, but I'm used to overnight trains.
GeoffHamer is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 11:19 AM
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Although that particular trip is high on our list, we haven't done it yet but have some friends who have. They thoroughly enjoyed it. Their kids loved it and thought it was a great experience. They had no trouble sleeping, but as mentioned above, that really is a very individual thing. For overnight, the difference in first class is well worth it, if it's within your budget.
dfr4848 is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 11:22 AM
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Geoff - then there are no first class doubles? Only second class doubles? Are there second class singles? guess not.

so really the only first class accommodation on this train is a single compartment, like i had, and if i had a companion we'd pay cheaper for the same room with two beds and it'd be called 2nd class?

thanks
PalenQ is online now  
May 31st, 2007, 11:40 AM
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www.seat61.com/CaledonianSleepers.htm

and if you can't get a bargain berth (FROM £19 one way) you can try the 2-4-1 offer

www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Content.aspx?id=1282
www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Content.aspx?id=1283

And before you ask - No, I don't know why it's appearing on the Great Western website instead of the Scotrail one
alanRow is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 12:04 PM
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Adjacent sleeping compartments have a connecting door which is normally locked but, if you book both compartments, the door can be opened to give a sort of twin-bedded compartment in first class or a four-berth compartment in second class.
GeoffHamer is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 02:47 PM
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"And before you ask - No, I don't know why it's appearing on the Great Western website instead of the Scotrail one"


From the T&C: "This offer can only be booked by telephoning First ScotRail on 08457 55 00 33 and quoting “First Great Western Caledonian Sleeper offer to Scotland”"

So it's a special deal, between First Great Western and First Scotrail. My head hurts.
owain is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 03:35 PM
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We booked the "family ticket" which is two adjoining double berths with the wall between them removed. I believe it was £240 which is not as cheap as four bargain berths certainly! These go fast, though, so you have to call Scotrail as soon as they become available for your dates.

We haven't made our trip yet so I cannot comment on the comfort. The last overnight train journey I made did not give me a restful night (Amtrak eastern US) but I LOVED it anyway!
crazy4Hawaii is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 03:39 PM
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Also our ticket is from London to Fort William so your fare would be different. There are only three of us so we wanted to be together. With four of you, though, you can split up and still have a family member with you.
crazy4Hawaii is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:25 PM
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Thanks for the great info on this topic. My family of four is considering the same questions, but from Edinburgh to London overnight. Is that a long enough route to bother, or would it be more time/cost effective to fly? Again, the adventure factor is an important consideration, as there's a 12-year-old in the group.
coolquail is offline  
May 31st, 2007, 09:58 PM
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"Is that a long enough route to bother" Not quite sure what you mean there. It is an overnight train journey - wouldn't want it much longer.

During the day the trip takes a little over 4 hours, but the sleeper is slower. It leaves about 11 p.m. and arrives in Edinburgh a bit after 7 a.m. and you can stay on board until about 0800.
janisj is online now  
May 31st, 2007, 10:27 PM
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Never mind my above post. I just called and got in on the two-for-one offer for 132 pounds total for four people. Thanks, all, for the tips!
coolquail is offline  
Jun 1st, 2007, 04:48 AM
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Good job! Enjoy your adventure and tell us all about it when you get home.
crazy4Hawaii is offline  
Jun 1st, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Thanks for all of the great advice! We're going to "pow wow" this weekend about this idea. Glad to have the 2 for 1 suggestion.
ccrosner is offline  
Jun 1st, 2007, 08:06 PM
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janisj, to clarify my question though moot: I had heard the Edinburgh to London route was about four hours, which didn't seem long enough to bother with the expense of an overnight sleeper. As you noted I did find that the sleeper takes longer, allowing for a couple hours more sleep and making the sleeper worthwhile esp. at the Bargain Berth or Two for One prices.
coolquail is offline  
Jun 1st, 2007, 11:22 PM
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I don't think the sleeper is expensive. If you take a daytime train, you'll need to spend an extra night in a hotel, so compare the cost of the sleeper with the daytime train fare plus the hotel.
GeoffHamer is offline  

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