I’d always wanted to take the overnight train from London to the Highlands – it always seemed such a romantic way to travel. So I was thrilled to actually take the journey – would it live up to my expectations?
Starting at London Euston, the first surprise was the sheer length of the train. It took us quite a while to walk along to the section where out compartment was.
The first thing I noticed was how narrow the corridors were. It was only wide enough for one person to walk along at a time, and would have been pretty tricky to negotiate with a lot of luggage. This is presumably to give maximum room for the sleeping compartments.
The staff are really good, welcoming passengers onboard giving everyone clear directions.
The sleeper compartments are compact, with narrow bunks. The beds are actually really comfortable, and the bedding was lovely and fresh. In fact, the whole carriage was really clean.
To get to the top bunk you have to climb up a small ladder which hooks onto the base of the bed.
The photo above was taken from the door, so you can see how compact the carriage is.
Part of the shelf under the window lifts up to reveal a sink, and there’s a bin underneath.
There was a little welcome pack in the compartment, with information about the train and the journey.
There aren’t any showers on board, and the old trains have toilets at the end of each corridor – there are also disabled/accessible toilets onboard.
It was now evening and after getting ourselves organised, time to head to the lounge car for dinner. Access to this can be restricted to First Class passengers at busy times, but the rush was over and there was plenty of room.
The menu was traditionally based, and despite the space restrictions the staff were working under was really good, much better then I’d expected. Service was friendly and very good.
After dinner it was dark and time to settle for the night. The bunks were actually really comfortable and it felt pretty cosy.
I could feel the movement of the train, but that was quite soporific, and there was no noise at all from the corridor or other compartments.
The main movement was when the train separated during the night – it splits into three when it reaches Edinburgh, with parts heading towards Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen.
We’d chosen to go to Fort William, as the countryside around there is pretty spectacular.
I slept soundly through the night, waking up as we reached Crianlarich. Time for another visit to the lounge car to fetch breakfast – bacon rolls and orange juice, eaten in our compartment while looking through the window at the scenery.