THERE’S something disconcerting about railways stations late at night.
With most “last trains” having already pulled out, the familiar hustle and bustle is replaced by the odd straggler wandering the ticket hall, and a dishevelled hen party desperate to secure those all-important burgers before the shutters slam on the last standing fast food outlet.
Waverley is no different... but it’s not quite the ghost station it appears. At the end Platform 7 it’s a very different story. That’s where you’ll find the Caledonian Sleeper, stewards by the doors, clipboards in hands, waiting to spirit guests on a night of slumber on the rails.In my case, it was Moh who was waiting to welcome me on board. A man I’d learn was one step ahead of any request I might have. Travelling on the Caledonian Sleeper (go First Class and get a cabin to yourself for not much more) is like stepping into a movie, what with the long narrow corridors that lead to the cabins and open-plan bar carriage. Once on board, a good six hours sleep is promised, but first, a nightcap to watch the city slip by as the train pulls away at 11.40pm. Back in the cabin, there’s a welcome travel pack with pillow spray, night socks, eye mask... even a basin for freshening up.
Of course, the point of this journey is to fall asleep in one city and wake in another. The rocking and tilting motion, and the thrum of the engines as the Sleeper powers along the tracks prove comforting and sleep-inducing.
You arrive at Euston, with a choice of breakfast served in your cabin – what better way to arrive in London for a weekend of theatregoing. And if you want to freshen up, ask your steward for a shower token. Showers are in the First Class Lounge, where I relaxed for an hour before heading into the West End and a date with Kit Harington, above, in Doctor Faustus.
Comfy, convenient and with a great sense of occasion, The Caledonian Sleeper is the civilised way to travel.
For timetables and fares, see www.sleeper.scot