Travelling by train by night in a sleeping car is an experience which is rarer those days. In most European night trains, there is an option to book a single bed in a shared room, and it is very welcome as a much cheaper option than booking the entire room.
One very pleasant thing I like to do in night trains is, before drifting off to sleep, to turn off the room lights and keep the window shade open to gaze at the passing night scenery. Very magical and relaxing. Then, after some time, I pull the shade down and go to sleep.
There are lucky times when no one else has booked the other beds in the compartment. For other occasions, I often found my (grumpy) roomate just wanting to pull the shade down straight when entering the room, even with the train not departed yet. Then he promptly turns all lights off and tucks into bed.
Starting from that moment, I have an extreme fear of waking up some sleeping monster, feeling forced to do all my night preparation in darkness, not even using the personal reading light. Usually there are some amenities in a paper bag (on Nightjets for instance); I do not use them because of the noisy hasard of opening the bag...
The situation can be even more inconvenient if I catch the train at an intermediate station, and someone is already sleeping in the room.
What are some common etiquette rules that govern sleeper trains in Europe? This could make the situations above less stressful for the next time!
- If one wants to sleep straight away and the other one desires to stay awake, read some pages of a book / finish a bit of work on the laptop / do stuff to fall asleep after a while, how to handle it?
- Is it OK to use the washbasin to freshen up a little?
- How to properly handle privacy while getting dressed for the night? Is it acceptable to get into some comfortable clothing for sleeping or are passengers expected to sleep in their day clothes?
This is mostly for travels in Europe, where sleepers are in closed rooms. Russian platzcarts and Indian railways coaches are outside the scope for instance.