Cornwall sleeper train - current experience

Backroom_boy

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28 Dec 2019
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64
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London
Just had a few nights down in St Ives via the sleeper train (both ways) and these are my thoughts:
* On board staff were excellent; smoothed over any issues and friendly and helpful.
* Full tray breakfast service is suspended but they are doing an acceptable reheated bacon roll
* Passengers joining at any intermediate stop need to pick up their key cards from the club car steward which caused a bit of confusion. (Is this a covid thing?)
* The recentish (2018?) Refurb of the compartments is pretty good, much less spartan than 80's BR.
* the ride is OK on the main line but the further west you go the worse it is (don't think I slept a wink in cornwall)
* But my one real annoyance was the jolting of the train with the stop/starts which is the worst I've experienced recently on any journey. Is this because its loco hauled (two class 57s topping and tailing) and not a unit train? Class 43/HSTs are much smoother which makes me wonder if the sleeper train could be re-engineered as a proper unit train (maybe with 43 power cars?) to get rid of all this jolting?
 
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JonathanH

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29 May 2011
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Is this because its loco hauled (two class 57s topping and tailing) and not a unit train?
Any 57 on the back is just a dead weight. It should only be there for Paddington to Reading / Reading to Paddington or if there is a need to transfer one between Penzance and Reading depot.

The couplings between carriages aren't as permanent as those in many units. That isn't going to change in the near term.
 

Backroom_boy

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The couplings between carriages aren't as permanent as those in many units. That isn't going to change in the near term.
Yeah maybe I should re-post my idea of an HST sleeper in the speculative section. (What's the rolling stock equivalent of a crayonista?)
 

XAM2175

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8 Jun 2016
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Glasgow
But my one real annoyance was the jolting of the train with the stop/starts which is the worst I've experienced recently on any journey. Is this because its loco hauled (two class 57s topping and tailing) and not a unit train? Class 43/HSTs are much smoother which makes me wonder if the sleeper train could be re-engineered as a proper unit train (maybe with 43 power cars?) to get rid of all this jolting?
This can be mitigated to a pretty decent extent with careful handling of the power and braking by the driver - but it is a bit of an art. You might find it varies from night to night as a result.

It's obviously far less present in multiple-unit trains as they use much stiffer couplings, but the odds of seeing anybody build an MU sleeper in this country are astronomically tiny.

In the case of HSTs the smoothness comes not from additional coupling stiffness, as HSTs use conventional semi-automatic knuckles, but rather because both power cars are powering simultaneously so the amount of slackness in the couplings remains fairly constant.
 

Backroom_boy

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28 Dec 2019
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Thanks so much for this. I am going at the end of the month.

What was the Bar/Lounge Car like?
Nice; currently only allowing 8 people in it so get there early. (Probably changed by the time you travel) Also allows you to BYO and the steward joked that he wouldn't charge corkage. (Not sure if this was official or not)

Top bunk gives you a better night than the bottom one...
 

Vespa

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Joined
20 Dec 2019
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648
Location
Merseyside
I have been on prior to Covid first kicking off in March, the ride quality is fairly similar rocky in Cornwall before steadying after Devon heading toward London, being a very deep sleeper I didnt really noticed it too much, that said I spent the first hour exploring the train and the lounge sampling the ale, the staff the staff very polite and unintrusive, I had a bacon bap with coffee in the morning, full English wasn't an option otherwise I would have taken advantage of that.

Next time I go on it I will go on the Penzance bound journey, I will try to get myself into a sleep state earlier and have a shower if I can in the First Class lounge before boarding.
 

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