The Polish train from Lviv to Krakow was absolutely the nicest I’ve ever ridden, bar none.
At only two cars long, it was also one of the shortest – especially considering how it covers an 8 hour journey that includes both an international border crossing and a rail gauge conversion.
So what was it that made this little train so amazingly nice?
Well, in addition to being spotlessly clean, the design of the rooms was truly a marvel of engineering:
Peder and I were given our own private cabin with three beds lining one of its walls, the bottom two of which folded up to form a 3-person couch. The other wall housed a work surface that folded up to reveal a sink, a small closet for hanging clothes, a small bar area for storing drinks, a luggage rack above, a ladder that could be folded out to reach the luggage rack, and a single chair that folded down from the wall. Each bed had its own headphone plug where the passenger could listen to music, like on an airplane. There were power outlets providing both 110V and 220V. There was climate control. The door locked via both a deadbolt and a hotel-style chain. The trash can materialized from between the sink and closet. It was simply amazing how much they managed to cram into that little compartment…without making it feel cramped at all.
As the two of us explored all the room’s various folding, collapsing, hideaway features, a conductor dropped by to briefly introduce himself. He spoke perfect English, something I hadn’t experienced on a train since Holland. He was also wearing a red sport coat and cap that made him look more like a hotel bellboy than a conductor 😆
He checked our tickets and handed us complimentary toiletry kits, chocolate croissants, and two bottles of mineral water.
Since the bathroom had been locked last time I checked, I took the opportunity to ask if he could unlock it. Instead, he led me down the hall to another room, a “common lounge,” as it seemed. It had two easy chairs, a flat-screen TV, DVD player, mini bar, and private bathroom. Perhaps this was meant to be a first-class cabin as it did have a single elevated bed as well – but since the train was nearly empty, he said we could feel free to use it tonight. I thanked him for the help and he returned to his sofa at the end of the car, right next to the main kitchen with its full-sized refrigerator and microwave.
At last, I could get a good night’s sleep on a train – and I wouldn’t even have to do so while hugging my luggage. With our door deadbolted and chained from the inside, even the conductor wouldn’t be able to come in without our permission.