Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Prague to Krakow, overnight train question.

Prague to Krakow, overnight train question.

Jul 16th, 2010, 10:53 AM
  #1  
2g
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 184
Prague to Krakow, overnight train question.

Is the overnight train safe for a solo female traveller? Do the compartments have a lock on the door? Can I get my own compartment? I am thinking of travelling by overnight train from Prague to Krakow so that I can have some more sightseeing time in Prague.
2g is offline  
Jul 16th, 2010, 11:09 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Depends on what type of accommodation you book- if you get a single private compartment there will be locks on the inside you can lock- usually bolt locks IME - but all night trains are different.

If you are in a multi-person compartment like a couchette (often 6 persons - mixed sex or a T-3 - triple - often but not always sex segregated -those compartments IME of taking hundreds of such night trains then they too always have locks on the inside BUT IME many times folks going out to the loo during the night will not lock them when coming back and then a thief could come in at night and quickly snatch a bag, etc.
Great sites for learning about overnight trains and European trains in general are www.seat61.com - scour it for lay-outs and types of accommodations offered on various overnight trains - www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - the latter offers IME of buying railpasses from them for years free advice by phone from experts without obligation if you want to talk to someone. Generally if you are in Prague for some days before the trrain you can book these easily - but if not there long then book ahead - either thru a U.S. agent or try the Czech Rail site.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 16th, 2010, 11:18 AM
  #3  
2g
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 184
Thanks, I had looked at the first two sights you recommend, but didn't know of Budget Europe Travel.

PalenQ, have you taken this train? I know you've been on alot of trains in Europe.
2g is offline  
Jul 16th, 2010, 12:12 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
I have not taken this specific overnight train but have taken other overnighttrains in Poland.I actually took the daytime train connection from Prague to Krakow -you have to change off the Prague-Warsaw train at Kotowice and take a regional train to Krakow (may have changed but doubt it) - the overnight train goes direct. Most overnight trains have a Sleeper Car(s) and Couchette wagon and, less and less, cars with regular seating like in the daytime. Some may not have the Sleeping Car, however which means there would probably be no private singles, doubles or triples but only couchettes and perhaps regular seating.
To find out what kind of cars that train has go to the home page of www.budgeteuropetravel.com and click on the link 'Best European Railway' schedule (or some such wording) and it brings you up to the Wunderbar German railways (www.bahn.de) English schedule page where you put in Prague and Krakow and the date and you'll get the train times - i reference the BETS home page link because they also give you several tips on fully using the bahn.de site - like finding out what kind of sleeping cars, couchettes, etc that train will have.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 16th, 2010, 01:31 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
2g - if you decide to go the couchette route - say a private double is not available, etc then i always try to get the very uppermost berth - there are usually three bunks on each side of an aisle - and i like to topmost - there is lots of room for luggage up there as part of it extends over the train corridor roof outside the compartment door - and luggage is obviously much safer from pilfering as a thief would be hard-pressed to get at it.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 16th, 2010, 01:53 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 16,843
Hi 2g; Not answering your question, but this site has good informational downloads for both cities. Richard www.inyourpocket.com
iris1745 is online now  
Jul 16th, 2010, 11:10 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,693
You'll be fine in a shared 3-bed or 2-bed sleeper. The cost is just 35 euros or so, plus 18 euros sleeper supplement for a bed in a 3 bed or 26 euros fora bed in a 2-berth (all approximate).

Yes, sleepers have a lock and security chain, you'll be fine. Sleepers are single sex, couchettes (4 berth and 6 berths per compartment) are mixed sex. And as the couchette supplement is about 9 euros, frankly the upgrade cost from couchette to sleeper is peanuts.
Man_in_seat_61 is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 02:21 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 184
http://www.cd.cz/mezinarodni-cestova...izdneho/-4073/

21 euros for a 2 bed sleeper, 49 euros for a 1 bed sleeper, but you would need a first class ticket.
The cheapest way is of course a day train...you could buy a special offer ticket from czech railways Prague to Warsaw for 19 euros, get off at Katowice, and buy a ticket for Katowice/Krakow in Poland....will not come to more than 25 euros.
wobbers is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 07:26 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Yes, sleepers have a lock and security chain, you'll be fine>

still again IME many people go out at night and do not lock the door on their return - so in any case take proper precautions - keep valuables in a moneybelt under your sleeping clothes - leave no bag on the floor near the door, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 08:00 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,911
I took the night train from Krakow to Prague four years ago. I didn't notice anything unsafe about it. It was the oldest rail car I was on in three weeks of railing around Europe that year. The Prague station has a lot of professional pan handlers.
spaarne is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 08:26 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,493
We took the night train from Krakow to Prague in 2005 and we had our own compartment. The door locked just fine. Infact so well that at the border crossing, I couldn't figure out how to unlock it, and the officials were banging on the door demanding to see our passports. Kind of scary! It seemed like our car only had Americans or British, maybe Australian passengers. We had our own steward (I think), but we all had to share 1 toilet and it ranks as 1 of the worst I have ever seen in my life! Gross!!!! I can't remember if the compartment had a sink, but I know it did have a complimentary bottle of water. Both train stations had some really scketchy characters hanging around. Watch your stuff in the stations!
zwho is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 12:59 PM
  #12  
2g
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 184
Thanks for all the feedback. I did find this link in case anybody is interested in seeing what the train compartments are like today:-

http://dianes1968.wordpress.com/2009...owprague-2009/

I have some questions.

Is there still immigration on this train, nowadays, since both Poland and the Czech Republic are part of Schengen?

I am assuming it is cheaper to buy a ticket once in Prague. I arrive in Prague on Friday evening and want to book a train for Sunday night, could availability be a problem?

Finnaly I have never travelled by night train and I am NOT a morning person, does a conductor wake people up by banging on the doors, or something. I'd hate to sleep in and travel somewhere else by mistake. OR, it is my responibility to get up on time?

Thanks.
2g is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 03:26 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Finnaly I have never travelled by night train and I am NOT a morning person, does a conductor wake people up by banging on the doors, or something. I'd hate to sleep in and travel somewhere else by mistake. OR, it is my responibility to get up on time?>

Esactly - on every night train practically of the hundreds i have taken the conductor will wake you up by knocking on the door about 30-45 minutes before arrival - and usually, even in Schengen countries, they will take your ticket when they first check and even your passport and give them back to you when they make the wake up call. Passports are not always taken but be prepared to fork them over - and do not worry if the conductor takes them away and does not return until the morning - this is the way it is done - if there are border checks then usually this is done in the conductor's compartment where he/she shows the passports to the frontier police and you do not get waken up unless there is some supicion.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 17th, 2010, 03:35 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,911
This site will get you up to speed on night trains. http://tinyurl.com/y57vft

You will probably be asked to give your ticket to the conductor so (s)he can give it to the Polish conductor at the border. Same for your passport maybe, but probably not.

It is probably cheaper to buy in Praha. Make a reservation at your first opportunity. There are about 52 Fridays every year. You do not specify which one you are traveling on. Congestion varies considerably.

You will get a knock on the door in the morning. Have your shorts handy. OTOH, in a female only couchette you must sleep in your street clothes.
spaarne is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 02:23 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 184
Please don't give the wrong information, there is no border control between Schengen countries, hence no passport check.
The conductors do not have the authority to check passports and they will not. The ticket will be checked on departure and that's it!
And buy the ticket in Prague, definitely the cheapest from the national rail.
Couchettes are mixed sex, only sleepers are one sex only.
wobbers is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 08:10 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Please don't give the wrong information, there is no border control between Schengen countries, hence no passport check>

then why was i awaken on the Amsterdam to Munich night train andasked to show my passport and also had my baggage thoroughly checked once in Germany?

You too often portray an epertise that shows little practical experience riding trains -normally no but it is always possible -no conductors have nothing to do with border controls - frontier police do.

Before giving out (mis)information be sure of what you are saying - my experience last year belies you 'correct' info

and about those casting stones at others...
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 10:59 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 184
PalenQ - you said you've taken a train from AMS to Munich - so now you are an expert. If a check indeed happened, than it was an unusual event, some security scare, police looking for a passanger a contraband? But that is an insolated event!!! What else do you think Schengen agreement is? Among other no passport or immigration between Schengen member states.
wobbers is offline  
Jul 18th, 2010, 11:11 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 251
We took the overnight train from Krakow to Prague at the end of May. We booked a 2 sleeper and enjoyed our trip. No border control - the conductor took our tickets and handed them back the next morning.

I would feel safe to book a 2 sleeper if I were you.
chiarachiara is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 12:31 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,911
On one of my intra-Schengen overnight train trips in 2006 the conductor asked me for my passport and kept it with my rail pass until morning. I do not argue with conductors.

Back to the Q posed by 2g, I feel just as safe in a train compartment as in a hostel or B&B room. I haven't read about any murders on the Orient Express in some decades.
spaarne is offline  
Jul 19th, 2010, 08:00 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
PalenQ - you said you've taken a train from AMS to Munich - so now you are an expert>

No one train does not make me an expert - but four decades of incessant train travel in Europe does IMO - and i have been on several intra-Schengen trains when police did ask for passports - no they are not usually supposed to do it but a caveat in Schengen i believe is that they can if there are special circumstances warranting it

Several times it has happened - how extensive is your train riding in Europe - you just seem to know a few facts and figures. Get out and actually ride the rails and then comment IMO - otherise you seem to give out a lot of disinformation IMO and stridently call others wrong if they dare oppose you.
PalenQ is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:48 PM.