Night Sleeper Train to Budapest from Krakow17 July, 2009
Night Train to Budapest from Krakow
From some online forum posts, we expected that tickets for the night train from Krakow to Budapest will cost more than 90 Euros. However, when we purchased the tickets, there were some SparDay/SparNight promotion – reducing the price to just 43 Euros per pax for a private 4-bed couchette. Look for the International Train Line counter when you purchase your tickets – they usually speak English; the other counters don’t.
Waiting for the train to depart from Krakow to Budapest. Note that the train starts the trip with number “D200” from Krakow station, then at Bohumin station it changes to “D203”,and finally in Breclav it changes to “EN 477”.
This is known as “train splitting.” Certain cars are moved from one train to another at stops. This happens very quickly and sometimes there’s hardly even a noticable “bump” when the cars are switched. If you buy a ticket for the whole trip it will be for a car that goes all the way to your destination. However, to avoid problems where you might end up in another city instead of the one you are planning to go – there are some pointers to note:
- Stay in your car, or print out the whole route (with times) and pay enough attention to return to your car just before the city where a split occurs.
- Ask the conductor if you are on the right car for your final destination (in our case – Budapest).
Our 4-bed couchette was actually a 6-bed couchette converted to a 4-bed one (the middle beds were removed). As such there is a huge gap between the lowest and the highest bed. The upper deck is so high that Caroline decided to just sleep sitting up on the lower deck instead. We were provided with pillows and blankets for the journey to Budapest.
The toilet facilities (shared by occupants in this train car) are not in the best shape. Whatever you flushed goes straight down to the tracks – that’s why the toilets are out of bounds when the train stops at a station; or else the train station tracks will stink!
The corridor shared by many couchettes. Our cabin bed numbers (note that this cabin was configured for a triple decker bed layout – 61 – 63 – 65 (but bed 63 was removed)
Thieves Gassing and Robbing Sleeper Train Passengers – Myth or Fact?
There were some stories of thieves gassing the entire cabin/couchette on night trains and then robbing the occupants of their belongings while they were knocked out by the sleeping gas. I think at least in our couchette for the Krakow to Budapest train – that can remain an urban legend. Let me explain why:
- First they have to somehow cut the chain that locked the cabin doors (possible considering that the train is quite noisy when it moves)
- Next the robbers would have been shocked (when they expected everyone to be sleeping) by the sight of Caroline who sat up (sleeping) by the door throughout the entire journey.
- If they get over their shock and Caroline is still sleeping, they will have to navigate their way through the barriers of luggage in between the double-deckers – barely any place for me to stand, let alone 1-2 robbers.
- Not forgetting our super heavy luggage (average of 18kg) they have to move under such cramped conditions.
- To get to the real good stuff (me! – actually my valuables e.g. money and passport), they have to climb a treacherous unstable ladder which I only dared to use twice in the entire journey (getting up to sleep and getting down to leave the train).
I think due to the rythmic motion of the train, I slept very soundly throughout the journey. I can’t say that for the rest especially Caroline (our door guardian) though. 🙂
A short video of the sleeper train cabin interior.
Booking Tickets for Krakow to Budapest Train Ride
To book your tickets for the Krakow to Budapest train ride, go to http://www.polrail.com/sections/store/quoteprice.html
They will reply with a link (what they call a “custom price quote”), you click on it, review the item and proceed to pay if it’s correct.
When you “check out” the item in their cart, choose an appropriate shipping option for your ticket, i.e. shipping cost is not included in the price they quote you.
Choose the normal (and therefore cheapest) shipping option and it will cost an extra 30 PLN.
They can only generate the tickets 60 days before your travel, so if you ‘purchase’ the tickets any earlier, they’ll just give you an estimate of when they’ll mail it out. E.g.
“Polish Rail tickets can be issued starting 60 days before travel. Therefore the estimated shipping date for your order is 22 April. You will receive an e-mail update when you order has shipped.”