Madrid to Lisbon overnight on the ‘Tren Hotel’

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  icenspice 25 Apr 2017
at 12:06
.

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  • capetonianm
    Participant

    Last week I travelled from Madrid Chamartin to Lisbon Santa Apolonia on the ‘Lusitania’ Tren Hotel, in Gran Clase in a single, for which I paid €133. Departure was punctual and arrival just a couple of minutes late. On board staff (Portuguese) very pleasant and helpful.

    Compared to the other overnight journeys I’ve done on RENFE night trains both in Spain and between Barcelona and Zurich (which don’t seem to run any longer?), it was rather disappointing. The CP/RENFE Talgo was a bit on the tatty side and the compartment didn’t smell very fresh, the shower didn’t work properly, and there was no way to prevent light coming in through the window, just a very inadequate and thin curtain, meaning that every time the train went through, or stopped at, a station, bright lights flooded into the compartment. There are about a dozen stops during the night, and with the rather poor ride quality, it doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep.

    Whereas on other long distance trains, except in France, there is usually a proper sit down restaurant with a good variety of quality food, the ‘bar’ on this train only offers basic fare and no proper tables. Given that it leaves Madrid at Spanish dinner time, I’d expected to be able to get a meal.

    It wasn’t a bad experience, just not as good as I’d expected based on previous night train journeys.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    capetonianm – Most sleeper trains within mainland Europe have been axed for various reasons (see links below) but a few remain in business such as the Madrid-Lisbon service you sampled.

    One of the first to be axed was the comfortable trains linking Paris with Madrid and Barcelona.

    Elipsos sleeper train withdrawn from service

    And then last year DB announced it would be dropping all its overnight trains.

    Deutsche Bahn to axe all sleeper trains

    But at the last minute Austrian Railways stepped in to rescue a few of the DB overnight services.

    Austria rescues Germany’s overnight trains

    SNCF in France now operates just a handful of overnight trains and these are aimed at the leisure market.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Thanks for a review on trains Capetonian. Makes such a change from planes.
    More trains please Alex/Tom, they also get you from A – B and a darm sight more comfortable than Air PackemInTight!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I travel wherever possible by train but don’t often ‘review’.

    One of my last trips was between an enjoyabl jaunt between Dublin and the South of France via Rosslare – Cherbourg (Ferry), and train via Paris. Quite enjoyable and it took about 36 hours, I was told by my son that it was ‘the act of a lunatic’ when I could have done it in a tenth of the time and at a tenth of the cost by air (Ryanair!).


    TominScotland
    Participant

    It is interesting that, in the UK, we are bucking the trend with a major upgrade of the Caledonian Sleeper. Of course, this will increase prices hugely and take the affordability out of it for many, except for the leisure market. I guess it is justified because our trains are TTL (Train Très Lent) as opposed to TGV.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    UK is the only European country investing in overnight trains. New Caledonian Sleeper rolling stock expected next year.

    Caledonian Sleeper unveils prototype cabins


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I was going to book on the Cornish Riviera night sleeper for the end of May, but the booking procedure is quite ‘messy’ and in the end I decided we’d rather travel on a day train and enjoy the scenery. I had been looking at fares and for 2 x 1st. class one way it was going to be roughly £275, with a railcard.

    This morning I went onto the GWR website and it was £73 for 2. I couldn’t help thinking it might have been a mistake, but I booked, got the tickets, confirmation etc. Odd, but satisfactory.


    SimonS1
    Participant

    It is interesting that, in the UK, we are bucking the trend with a major upgrade of the Caledonian Sleeper. Of course, this will increase prices hugely and take the affordability out of it for many, except for the leisure market. I guess it is justified because our trains are TTL (Train Très Lent) as opposed to TGV.

    Its a win/win for the Scots then. Prices will go up, and of course 60% of the upgrade cost is being met by the taxpayer.


    icenspice
    Participant

    I would like to try this, capetonianm. Some years ago I took the daytime train, but don’t remember so many stops.

    But, what a grand arrival point?


    capetonianm
    Participant

    I find there is always something ‘grand’ about arriving at, or departing from, any railway terminus, particularly after an international journey (except Paris Gare du Nord which is an absolute dump).

    Sadly, there is no daytime train between Madrid and Lisbon, I would far rather have done it by day if it had been possible, but even with changes, I’ve not been able to work out a routing, and nor has the ‘Man in Seat 61’ (http://seat61.com/).

    There is a lovely train journey between Lisbon and Oporto, the ‘high speed’ Alfa Pendular train is comfortable, clean, and inexpensive. It isn’t very fast, it takes just under 3 hours, but nothing in Portugal is very fast, which is part of the charm of the country. I’ve done the trip a few times, you can leave Lisbon at a fairly civilised time, have a leisurely lunch in Oporto, walk around, and get back to Lisbon easily in time to have dinner.


    icenspice
    Participant

    Thanks for jogging my memory, capetonianm.

    It’s all coming back to me now. According to my flight log, it was in 1993…yikes.

    I had arrived at Barajas from Las Palmas on a nightflight and went straight to the station.

    Stops included Talavera de la Reina?, Cáceres and Entroncamento in Portugal.

    On arrival at MAD, I had asked how much a flight to LIS was, and quickly found myself on the metro LOL

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