Sleeper trains are now gradually making a comeback in the transportation scene, challenging the modern means of traveling that tourists have already become accustomed to for a period of time. This mode of transportation belongs under the concept of slow traveling, which allows passengers to journey at a leisurely pace and gain fresh experiences along the way. While this concept might not be the cup of tea that suits everyone, especially those who put great value on time and want to get to their destination as fast as they can, taking the slow and steady route is proven to be more sustainable. Hopping on a sleeper train helps reduce environmental impact and offers opportunities for sightseeing as you hit the trails. If this kind of odyssey appeals to you, browse through this list of the best sleeper trains around the world, and book yourself a ticket for a scenic ride.
1. SJ Train, Sweden
In 1994, SJ Train earned a badge as a “Good Environmental Choice” for transportation, and it still upholds its climate-friendly standards up to this day. The train’s operation only sources electricity from renewable wind and hydropower, ensuring little to no carbon emissions for traveling. The train drivers also use freewheeling for several routes, including Falköping to Gothenburg and Floby to Gothenburg. This technique reduces energy use by turning off the engine and letting the train move in its momentum.
That aside, the trains are powered by electric motors. The on-site restaurant also offers organic fare made from local produce. SJ Train allows passengers to explore Sweden in a unique and adventurous way while glancing at its unspoiled natural splendor through the windows. Pets are welcome to join you aboard, and special seats are available for passengers with limited mobility.
Website: SJ Train
Price: from 335 SEK (32 USD)
2. Deutsche Bahn, Germany
This railway company in Germany lets you discover the depths of Europe at a relaxed pace while contributing to sustainable initiatives by simply booking a ride. It envisions becoming climate-neutral by 2040 and strives for environmental protection through its green transformation principle. This principle revolves around holistic approaches to climate protection, nature conservation, noise reduction, and resource protection.
Deutsche Bahn’s fleet is manufactured with a resource-saving system. Biofuels are mainly used in rail freight transport to minimize carbon emissions. Most meals and beverages served on board are organic and locally sourced. Tableware and packaging are also strictly monitored and heavily dependent on recyclable, reusable, or compostable materials. The best part? Train fares are also flexible and easy on the pockets!
Price: from 22.90 EUR (24.45 USD)
3. Metro Trains Melbourne, Australia
Mitigating environmental impacts is Metro Trains Melbourne’s main priority, besides providing passengers with quality experiences. It is the largest suburban rail network in Australia. Often regarded as Metro, this rail operator prides itself on being an ISO certification holder for its Environmental Management System.
As an example of its sustainable practices, LED lighting is used as a replacement for traditional high-consumptive lighting. Metro also implements innovative vegetation management policies, such as eliminating pesticides by welcoming a herd of goats for weed-clearing operations in one of its stations. With over 6,100 employees, this company supports the host community by generating career opportunities.
Metro Trains Melbourne
Website: Metro Trains Melbourne
Price: from 3.10 AUD (2.14 USD)
4. Via Rail Canada, Canada
Enjoy your me-time with a book at hand while traversing the tracks of Via Rail Canada. Apart from the fact that rail trains are environmentally friendly, this passenger rail service is making an effort towards a low carbon economy. Its sustainable approaches explore waste reduction and management, employee mobilization, and greenhouse gas emission alleviation. Moreover, this railway network is committed to complying with the six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With socially inclusive measures, the trains are designed to provide better accessibility for all passengers. This continental railway network currently runs and operates through eight provinces in Canada. Ultimately, Via Rail Canada aims to develop cities and communities to be more accessible, connected, and sustainable.
Via Rail Canada
Website: Via Rail Canada
Price: from $148
5. Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
If you are on the hunt for a train trip that centers on comfort and luxury, check out the routes of Rocky Mountaineer. It passes through four rail routes comprising British Columbia, Alberta, Colorado, and Utah. Throughout the ride, passengers can marvel at the stunning scenery of the ever-changing landscapes, featuring high peaks, coastal rainforests, and rugged mountains.
Rocky Mountaineer gears toward a sustainable path beside the poetic spectacle it affords passengers by winning the Best Sustainable Train Journey category of Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Awards 2021. The rail-tour company is steadfast in yielding positive environmental impacts by using reusable tableware, planting trees, and adhering to sustainable water and water management. Additionally, the company supports local communities and non-profit organizations.
Website: Rocky Mountaineer
Price: 1,864 CAD (1,385 USD)
Sometimes, slower is better
Slow travel, riding sleeper trains particularly, champions sustainable impacts and boosts rewarding experiences. It also allows you to appreciate the scenic beauty of the roads less traveled and treasure all the in-betweens in your voyage.
Slowing down from time to time allows you to see the value in little taken-for-granted ordinaries you fail to realize while trying to thrive in the fast-paced world. These days, everything and everyone seems to be moving in a rush, leaving you barely any time to recharge, eventually leading to burnout and fatigue. So, once you’re set to start your journey, be sure to review this list of the best sleeper trains around the world to find the best route.