To get to Edinburgh from London, we decided to take the train. Reason being, driving from London to Edinburgh would take about 7 hours, and we were not up for that sort of long drives. In addition, the Caledonian Sleeper was a night train, and we could use the train ride as accommodation for one night, thus killing two birds with one stone. We got some time savings as well. Here’s an account of us travelling from London to Edinburgh on the Caledonian Sleeper. If you’re thinking of making a similar trip, hope this comes in helpful.
Euston Railway Station
We got to Euston at 10.30pm, in time to collect our luggage, which we had left at the left luggage office run by Excess Baggage. The prices are appended below. If you’re keen to find out which other railway stations have left luggage facilities, Top Tip London has good information on that. The prices are as follows:
- £6 per item for 0–3 hours
- £12.50 per item 3–24 hours
- Then £7.50 per item per 24 hours
We boarded the train about 30 minutes early, as it was at the platform when we arrived. It was good because it gave us some time to settle down and get ready to sleep right when the train moved.
Unlike trains in Asia where the private compartments come in berths of four, the standard cabins came with two berths each, which is great for privacy especially if you’re travelling in pairs. If you have four people, there can be an arrangement to open the door between compartments. It costs SGD193/ £108 for a ticket, which is okay value given that it’s part of accommodation for one night as well.
The compartment was pretty tiny to be honest. Not great if you’re carrying huge suitcases (30/19 inches), huge enough to take home bottles of delicious Scotch. Don’t even think of storing these suitcases on the top shelves. They don’t fit.
The Wash Basin
I was quite happy to hear that the compartment came with a wash basin. But I soon learnt that the water did not drain from sink, like how sinks are supposed to perform. As I was Googling about how to use the sink on the Caledonian Sleeper, I read that some inconsiderate male passengers had used the sink as a urinal. With that imagery in my mine, I couldn’t use the sink anymore, or even continue to try to make it work. I ended up walking over to the common train toilet to brush my teeth. It was fine – clean and all.
Like the Trans Siberian, the corridor of the train was pretty narrow. The toilets were clean – I strategised and was one of the first few passengers to use them.
Coffee in the morning
The train attendants were considerate enough to ask if we prefer tea, coffee or orange juice (OJ) in the morning. We were awaken at about 6.20am in the morning, not by the train attendant, but by our neighbour who decided to broadcast an audiobook in the morning. The walls are extremely thin and noise passes through quite easily. Thankfully S told him to keep it down, and he did.
The ‘care pack’ came with a coffee bag and a type of packeted short bread – which was really welcomed, given the taxing morning which lay ahead of us.
Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station
We arrived an the Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station. It was summer, and it was bright and sunny at 7am in the morning. Having to make do with 6 hours of sleep, we made our way to our hotel, through the streets of Edinburgh. The story continues…
The Travelling Squid’s Take
If you’re the rough and rugged kind of traveller, the Caledonian Sleeper makes a lot of sense. It saves you some travel time as you’re travelling through the night, while asleep. The berths were pretty comfortable. The sheets were clean, and perhaps it was the chugging and mechanical sounds of the train carriage that allowed me to sleep really well. It would have been perfect if we were heading for a short getaway and had less luggage. Minus that strange experience with the sink, the compartment was pretty decent. Just a warning – the walls are really thin, whatever you do can be heard by the person next doors, so please, do not blast your audiobook in the wee hours of the morning. Bring ear plugs and an eye mask if you’re sensitive to noise and sound. For me, it was the cabin lights which were a tad glaring.
Have you taken the Caledonian Sleeper? Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.