The Sleeper Train

The news that First Great Western’s franchise renewal has included offering more sleeper services coincided with a piece on Radio 4’s Saturday Live this weekend on the London to Penzance sleeper train.

It was a great reminder of what a wonderful experience the sleeper train it and how it captures the romance of travel in a way in which only rail travel can do.

What struck us was how the experience was intimate and personal.  It wasn’t about grandeur; it was about the small things.

It wasn’t about exclusivity either.  It described the Sleeper train lounge that was just for sleeper passengers who seemed to form a temporary community on the train around this shared experience.  This wasn’t some extra cost or an experience, like 1st Class on planes, that is only available to the wealthy.  It was available to those having the experience and formed a rich part of it.

It is a simple service and demonstrates something important about designing good passenger experiences.  It reaches us on an emotional level – the going to sleep in London and waking by the sea – and is also something simple and delightful.



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