This is only the second time I have taken a night train as part of a business trip. As we slip into Edinburgh in the early morning, having left London Euston at midnight, I feel this journey has gone rather well (my trip by sleeper to Turin for work in 2008 was less successful).
Here are my tips for taking the Caledonian sleeper on a business trip.
– Get to the train early. It is often sitting on the platform some time before departure.
– Settle in to your cabin, and then head straight to the lounge car.
– If you are travelling for work, and want to get some work done, then get a first class single birth room. Otherwise, get a second class birth and park yourself in the lounge car.
– Have a whiskey, if you like the sort of thing. After all, you wouldn’t get the chance if you’d gone for the 5.40am train instead.
– Get up as soon as the attendant brings round hot drinks to your cabin. You room mate, if sharing, may still be dozing, so you can get ready in relative privacy, and then head back to the lounge car, which will be completely empty. Watch Edinburgh role into view, as I am doing now, and charge your mobile phone (there’s no sockets in the cabin).
The peculiar thing about riding the sleeper for work is arriving at Euston around midnight dressed and ready to start the next day, while those all around are clamouring to take the last train home feeling worse-for-wear. There is a romantic-unromantic dissonance to the experience! Kevin Holdsworth seems to agree in his blog on the same subject.
When you do arrive in Edinburgh and fancy some time with a coffee before your meeting then Pep & Fodder is a good bet at the top of Waverley Steps, turn right and it’s on the other side of the road after 100m (with a sig outside that says ‘come in for a coffee, we pay our taxes’).