(K. Brent Tomer),
Night Trains: The Rise and Fall of the Sleeper. By Andrew Martin. Profile Books; 248 pages; £14.99.
SLEEPER trains occupy a romantic corner of any traveller’s soul. One of Hercule Poirot’s most gripping adventures takes place on the Simplon Orient Express, which used to run from Paris to Istanbul. A famous scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” features a night train entering a tunnel. James Bond, meanwhile, detects a spy on a sleeper train after noticing him behave suspiciously in the dining car (“Red wine with fish!” Bond mutters).
In some parts of the world, the nostalgia lives on. The Caledonian Sleeper, complete with smartly dressed waiters, neeps and tatties and a selection of whiskies, is the best way to travel between London and Scotland. Elsewhere, however, sleepers are on their last legs. Flights across Europe have become so cheap that fewer and fewer travellers bother with the wagon-lit. Sensing that the end is nigh, Andrew Martin, a British novelist, has written an ode to the sleeper.
“Night Trains” is…Continue reading