Sumary of Because the night … why I love a sleeper train:
- When I’m on a sleeper train I can barely sleep, such is my state of expectation.
- The lexicon of night trains is a lulling Kraftwerk lyric: wagon-lit, couchette, Trans Euro Nacht, Orient Express, Schlafwagen.
- Then there’s the therum-thererum, of iron wheels passing over fishplates – precisely the rhythm of a rocking crib.So the announcement last week that the excellently named French startup Midnight Trains is going to relaunch sleeper services from 12 cities from 2024 is the best travel news I’ve heard in ages.
- Europe’s once-dreamy network of night trains – which lasted from the 19th century to the 1980s – has been dwindling in recent decades, thanks to high operational costs, privatisation and the rise of the five-quid flight.
- Everything (almost) about sleeper trains is beautiful.Passengers in a sleeper car of the Paris-Nice night train, which returned to service in May.
- Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty ImagesI don’t think I can remember more than three flights out of the scores I’ve taken.
- Sleepers often slow down at night for maintenance on the line: at one long hiatus on a Madrid-Rome train, I pushed down the window to look out over the French Riviera from a high vantage point.
- Bidding farewell to the train is heartbreakingOn a last-minute winter break, a sleeper from Tangier to Marrakech allowed me and two friends to dump the package hotel we’d booked and swap a hashish-blurred French-feeling city for a more Arab one.