We look at Britain’s “Sleeper” trains, which run between London, Devon, Cornwall and Scotland.
The current “Sleeper” network is far less than a generation ago, but nevertheless is important for leisure travellers, and British businesses.
Trains run from London’s Euston to Scotland, with destinations including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fort William, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Aviemore and Perth. The alternative is the “Sleeper” from London’s Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth, Bodmin, Truro and Penzance. All services run from Sunday through Friday, giving arrivals at destinations between Monday and Saturday. No services depart on Saturday nights.
Fares are often competitive, with some beds being available for as little as £19 when sharing with another person. In the case of the Cornish and Devonian train, you must purchase a regular ticket (which is available from Red Spotted Hanky), which allows you a seat to sleep in, and you then upgrade, for a maximum of £45, to a single person bedroom (or “berth”).
Journey times are deliberately extended, to give optimum levels of rest for those on board, and drivers must use special techniques, and obey slightly lowered speed restrictions, in order to give a comfortable ride.
In summer months, the “Sleeper” to Cornwall is usually fully booked, as holidaymakers scramble to reach the English Riviera. In winter, however, skiers use the service to reach popular destinations, namely Aviemore, in the Highlands.