Sleeper cars are usually geared for night time passenger travel, and have been utilized ever since the 1830s. These days, competition among sleeper cars with various rail companies is becoming fierce – which is really, really great. This means that passengers (both regular commuters and overseas travelers) get to see a wide variety of prices to choose from, and an even wider variety of services to indulge in. The European Rail Company or Eurail provide tickets for sleeper compartments on trains like Eurostar, InterCityExpress, Thalys and TGV. However, some of us less frequent rail travelers may have a number of questions when it comes to availing such services, such as:
How Much Does A Sleeper Compartment Cost?
The cost of a sleeper compartment really depends on several factors like: which Eurail train you would like to travel in; where your point of origin is; where your point of departure is; what amenities are provided; and how many nights you plan to stay with the sleepers. Nonetheless, a good estimate of your cost would be around $40 to $80 a night – that’s about €25.74 to €51.48.
What Is A Couchette Car And How Is It Different From A Sleeper Compartment?
In truth, there really is no major difference between the two, other than the fact that the rest of the world calls these train accommodations “sleeper compartments” while most European rail systems call them “couchette cars.” These are actually non-private sleeping accommodations with fold-away beds that can house between 4 or 6 passengers. During the daytime, these beds turn into bench seats, which line the long sides of the compartments; it can be accessed through a side entrance. However, passengers at sleeper cars can be segregated by sex, while couchette cars are unisex.
If you are worried as to how to convert these benches to beds, try not to worry. A train attendant will come in and assist you at a pre-designated time. Or, with mutual consent from the other passengers in the compartment, you can ask the attendant to pull down the beds at a time you prefer.
What’s The Difference Between First Class and Second Class Compartments?
Setting aside the price of the compartments, 1st class sleeping compartments usually only hold beds for 4 passengers; while 2nd class compartments can hold 6 (or more) passengers. In a typical 2nd class sleeping compartment, the seats lining the long side of the room serves as the lowest bunk, while the back rest of these seats shift to a horizontal position providing the middle bunks.
What Are The Amenities Available?
Again, this is dependent on the actual rail service you avail of. At the barest minimum, you get to have a blanket, a bed sheet and a pillow. An attendant can sell you food and drinks (this is not part of your Eurail pass or train ticket.) Other rail services provide Continental Breakfasts. 1st class compartments can have their own bathroom or wash area to use; while 2nd class compartment passengers have to contend with public utility toilets and wash rooms, which are usually situated at the ends of the train cars.
If you would like to know more about these sleeping compartments or would like to avail of these services, you could check out the official websites of the various Eurail companies.