Night train to Lapland with a car

I have to start this post by saying that I have a superpower – the ability to sleep wherever and whenever. I am exceptionally talented with this gift in all moving objects. Thus, it didn’t come as a surprise that my very first time traveling in a sleeper train was a huge success.

The easiness of packing one week’s things for hiking, sport and city life in the trunk of  our car, driving the vehicle into a car-carrier, walking to our compartment and waking up the next morning in Rovaniemi… Oh boy, I am never going to drive to Lapland again.

Prepared for night train at Pasila train station

Waiting at Pasila railway station in Helsinki to hop to the train and go to our compartment. The car is already on board.  

How does it work?

  1. Buy the tickets.
  2. Driver drives the car into the car-carrier. Others wait aside as that happens.
  3. Walk to the normal station platform and board the train as usual. (Car-carriers are attached separately to the “normal” train.)
  4. Go to your compartment and get comfortable.
  5. Not too comfortable because you will hear a knock on your door and tickets are checked.
  6. Get really comfortable.
  7. Wake up at your destination.
  8. Walk to the car-carrier platform. Driver gets the car.
  9. Continue your adventure.

Unloading cars in Rovaniemi train station

The car-carrier about to be opened so that the drivers can fetch their cars in Rovaniemi. Behind on the left, the sleeping cars of the same trains.

Tips

  • Be the early bird. Remember to book early in advance, in all seasons! We bought our tickets online. It was a bit unclear when the tickets can be booked for a certain month. Last spring, I called to the customer service to make sure that I wasn’t going to be too late. We bought our August tickets at the end of May when the online service for those dates opened. The price for Helsinki-Rovaniemi-Helsini-tickets including a car and 2 persons in a private compartment with own toilet & shower was some 400 euros.
  • Pack the minimum. The cabin is comfortable but understandably tiny. Pack a separate bag with overnight essentials for the train trip only. Remember ear plugs if you are a very light sleeper. Towels and linen are included in the price. The bathroom facilities are tidy.
  • Happy if not hungry. There is a cafeteria onboard with really long opening hours. We chose to  bring our own snacks to maximize the unsocial bliss of our private compartment. My recommendation is to take at least a big bottle of drinking water with you as you cannot drink tap water in the train and the free bottles are minuscule.
  • Nauseous? If you get sea sick, the side movement of the train when lying may cause you the same feeling. Have a pill (you can get it from a local pharmacy without prescription) and feel better.
  • Family business? At least at the moment, children aged 10 and under travel free of charge if they sleep in the same berths with the parents. It is a great deal but not a good night of sleep, I would guess. When booking tickets you can also ask for adjoining compartments.
  • General info about night trains by the Finnish Railway company VR here

convenient bunk in Finnish sleeper train

The berth is comfortable for one person and belongings. 

 

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