Luxury Sleeper Trains are Back for All Your Murder on the Orient Express Cosplay Needs

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Wonderful news for everyone who dreams of slicing across snowy landscapes under starry skies, tucked into a nest of damask and velvet: luxury sleeper trains are back!


“Cushy sleeping berths on new railcars and mightily refurbished ones are rolling into stations everywhere, from the Scottish Highlands to the Peruvian Andes,” the Wall Street Journal has happily reported. Be still, my heart! And there are so many locales from which to choose:

On the luxury end, Japan saw two new sleeper trains debut in 2017 with private outdoor balconies, skylit claw foot tubs and kaiseki meals. Around the same time, Belmond, formerly Orient-Express Hotels, added new sleeper trains in Peru and Ireland to its fleet. There are luxury sleepers from Russia to Paris, along the Silk Road in Iran and Kazakhstan, across Africa, throughout India, across Switzerland’s glaciers, and in New Zealand, Norway and Romania.

Amenities include “Wi-Fi, double beds, en suite showers, moonroof observation lounges, top-quality cuisine and even dedicated spa cars.” Sounds great! Of course, the problem for is actually affording the ride. Is this why I finally pivot to Instagram influencing? Not so fast—apparently there are “affordable” options, as well:

In Europe alone, several new affordable options have materialized too, running more utilitarian services (no guided excursions, just overnight schedules). In 2017, the United Kingdom’s Great Western Railway (GWR) relaunched the Night Riviera, traveling between London and Cornwall, one of England’s sunniest corners. Also in 2017, Italy’s Trenitalia-owned Thello debuted new sleeper cars with en suite showers on their Paris to Venice route. And in June 2019, Scotland’s Caledonian Sleeper will debut highly anticipated new cars with routes from London to Glasgow and Edinburgh and Highlander routes to Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William with en suite showers, double beds and plenty of whiskeys in the bar car.

I will absolutely be taking a night train to Penzance at my earliest convenience, thanks very much. Perhaps there will be romance! Perhaps there will be intrigue! As long as there’s snacks.

Senior Editor at Jezebel, specializing in books, royals, romance novels, houses, history, and the stories we tell about domesticity and femininity. Resident Windsor expert.


the spirit of moira rose

Sorry to rain on people’s parade, but having taken overnight sleepers with what passes for nice bunks and en-suite showers, I’d just like to highlight that it’s seriously not worth it (European NightJet routes). It’s actually really expensive even for the non-velvet lined cabins (way more expensive than flying a normal airline), cramped, and the sleeping is much less comfortable than you might think.  I had all these romantic notions of sleeper rail travel and nope, hard pass, not doing it again.  Also, Europe is tiny.  Just sit your ass on a plane for 2 hours rather than being uncomfortable in a train for 16 hours.  LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES.