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When I travelled in a sleeper train for the first time (it was a two-bed sleeper cabin from Vienna to Strasbourg), I barely slept: my biggest problem was the air conditioning (either it was too warm inside for sleep or there was cold wind and the sinuses hurt), second to it the suboptimal running quality and the just-above-consciousness-level noise at high speed. I got used to these on later sleeper rides, though.

In terms of malfunctioning equipment, I had no issues with air conditioning, but in a sleeper car of the Italian Railways, I had a wash cabin lamp that wouldn't switch off (the conductor gave me a truckload of serviettes to block all the gaps in and between the wash cabin doors).

I also rode in six-bunk couchette cabins twice, in both cases with (functional) air-conditioning. However, although there were six beds, tickets were sold for four only, and in both cases, I had only one co-passenger who didn't snore, so I don't have experience how it is when the cabin is really cramped.

Two weeks ago I rode in a non-air-conditioned sleeper cabin for the first time (from Venice to Budapest via Slovenia and Croatia). It was also an old car with tread rather than disc brakes (makes for louder and more sudden and shaky braking). For the first three hours (until midnight), I pulled down the window and just waited for the inside to cool down to a temperature one can sleep in. However, those three hours also included frequent stops in Italy and the curve-rich climb up the mountains on the Italian-Slovenian border, when I wouldn't have gotten any sleep either. (Watching the train's lights alongside the tracks, I saw that all other cabins had the lights on until the same time, even if the windows were up – must all be experienced riders, I thought.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Aug 6th, 2011 at 05:41:45 AM EST
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