Why did you take the night train?
It all started when I was invited to Stockholm to present some research findings at Svenskt Handels Hus. To be honest, I wasn’t super enthusiastic about going. However you go about it, travelling from Malmö (where I live) to Stockholm is likely to take a huge chunk out of at least one work day, if not two. The train takes 4-5 hours each way and flying might seem quicker but, by the time you get yourself to the airport in good time, and transport yourself into the city at the other end, I think ends up taking just as much time.
In addition, the timing of this trip was particularly unlucky because Beyoncé and I were both going to be in Stockholm at the same time (if for slightly different reasons). Perhaps the hotels were all booked up because people were flocking to the city to hear about my research. I’m not sure. But it was really hard to find anywhere to sleep in the city centre. And what was available was really expensive.
The solution to both problems was suggested by my brilliant husband. I should take the night train to Stockholm! I wouldn’t waste any of my work day. I would have a cosy place to sleep. And, I would be making a great choice for the environment by taking the train rather than flying. Win-win-win!
How did it go?
I chose a private first-class cabin so I wouldn’t need to share a sleeping space with any snorers. The first class cabins also come with a little toilet and shower room. And fresh towels and bedding. All I had to do was to show up at 10.30, in my pyjamas with my heatless curlers in (I’m not joking—I actually cycled to the station in PJs and curlers) and get into bed. Bliss!
When I boarded, the cabin was set up for sitting and working with a little fold-away work desk and convenient lamps. But I just had to fold the table away, slide the seat cushions up, put my phone on charge, and I was ready for bed. You get a proper duvet and two pillows and, once that train started rolling I was off to the land of nod…zzz
Actually, that isn’t totally true, there was a baby in the adjacent cabin who was having a tough night, so I pressed the call button and the conductor moved me to another room instantly, no questions asked. Then, I was off to the land of nod…zzz
The night train goes more slowly than the regular day time train so that it doesn’t get to Stockholm too soon. It arrived at 5.30 am but, since Stockholm was the final destination, there was no rush to get off the train. I took my time removing my curlers, showering, and getting ready for a day of work. Then I cruised over to the Clarion Continental hotel across the street from the Central Station for the breakfast that’s included in the price of a first class train ticket. By 7.15, I was well-rested, well-fed, raring to go, and already in the heart of Stockholm City. It was a 10 minute walk to Svensk Handels Hus, where I would give my presentation.
What did it cost?
Sleeping in the train instead of a hotel, made a huge difference to the cost of the trip. Hotel prices for this trip were especially high because of the extra demand (from people travelling to Stockholm to see
me present my research Beyoncé performing) but even when demand is more normal, I think hotel prices in Stockholm are a stretch for many research budgets so it was a nice bonus that taking the train reduced the cost of trip by almost half. Note that I booked these prices last minute. If you are more organised than me, you can probably do better.
Could you really shower in that tiny bathroom?
Okay, I’ll be honest. It wasn’t the most luxurious shower I have ever had. The water pressure was a bit low. But it worked perfectly well to freshen up before going to work. I showered and washed my hair in the evening before I got on the train so I’d recommend doing the same.
Did you feel safe?
Absolutely! I could lock my cabin from the inside and there were also little key cards in the cabin so I could lock it from the outside too. Each cabin is also fitted with a button to call the conductor in case of emergency (like crying babies)!
Would you travel like this again?
100% yes! I really liked the sense of adventure and it was super convenient. Feel free to reach out in the comments section if you have specific questions that I haven’t covered here. You can also watch a short video I made on the night train. Unfortunately, I had already removed my curlers when I filmed it!