Can a car beat the sleeper to its destination?

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Gathursty

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If you had cars outside London Euston or Paddington and set them both off at the same time as the respective sleeper services, which would you expect to arrive first at Penzance/Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley/Fort William/Aberdeen?

Let's pick Sunday as a basis and assume the car doesn't need to stop for any reason.

I've been thinking about it today and think it could be quite close between the two.
 
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Have tried any of the route planners to see how long a car would take?
 

221129

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If you had cars outside London Euston or Paddington and set them both off at the same time as the respective sleeper services, which would you expect to arrive first at Penzance/Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley/Fort William/Aberdeen?

Let's pick Sunday as a basis and assume the car doesn't need to stop for any reason.

I've been thinking about it today and think it could be quite close between the two.

On a Sunday bare in mind that the Cornish sleeper is booked to take longer than during the week.
 

6Gman

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If you had cars outside London Euston or Paddington and set them both off at the same time as the respective sleeper services, which would you expect to arrive first at Penzance/Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley/Fort William/Aberdeen?

Let's pick Sunday as a basis and assume the car doesn't need to stop for any reason.

I've been thinking about it today and think it could be quite close between the two.

The car may not need to stop but the driver probably will!

:D
 

richw

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The Cornish sleeper takes its time every night; on Sundays it runs even slower.

It takes around 8 hours on a weekday night, Sunday it takes 9. Car would take around 5 hours at night at most.
 

AlexNL

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Didn't Top Gear try this once? I think the train won the race...
 

AngusH

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Based on some really quick planning with google maps and nationalrail

Paddington -> Penzance dept today

Train 8h 2m
car 5h 25m (approx avg)

Euston -> Edinburgh

Train 8h 1m
Car 7hr (approx avg)

Euston -> Fort William

Train 13h 27m
car 9h 10m (approx avg)

Euston -> Inverness

Train 12h 10m
car 9h 50m (approx avg)


car time averages based on google maps driving times and may be wrong.


In short, it's not faster, but you can't sleep at the wheel (hopefully)

(edit: I feel JohnB57 numbers and mine are generally in agreement, given the amount of estimation required)
 
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AlexNL

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Some Googling confirms it, Top Gear once raced the Caledonian sleeper from Inverness to Euston.

My memory was wrong though, the car driver car was earlier in Euston than the guy taking the sleeper.
 

AngusH

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For better timings though a person could catch the 0755 Inverness to London train and it takes only 7h 56m, which may be faster than a car.
 

JohnB57

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I feel JohnB57 numbers and mine are generally in agreement, given the amount of estimation required
Agreed - mine were just quick examples from AA Route Planner.

I've travelled on the sleepers twice. One time was in 1982 from Preston to Glasgow, when I stood in the guard's van with someone asleep under my legs, it was so overcrowded. I got a seat onward to Fort William but I very nearly did fall asleep at the wheel of the six-wheel tanker I'd gone up there to collect on the return journey.

The other time was a return trip from delivering a Leyland Olympian double decker to Trans Clyde (45 MPH flat out!) when I didn't realise I was on the sleeper and couldn't understand why we were stationary up Shap most of the night.

Innocent times...
 

PeterC

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And now try it doing a full day's work on either side of the trip.
 

455driver

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The car will beat the train, but the car driver wont be in a fit state to do anything the day after, the train passenger will be as bright as a button.

Its all well and good getting there quicker but one advantage of catching the train is you can relax/sleep and enjoy the journey.
 

Monty

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The car may beat the train to Glasgow or Edinburgh, but I wouldn't have thought that with any of the through portions to Fort William and Inverness etc would be so clear cut.
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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Are the sleeper trains not dliberately given slow times so that passengers arrive at the terminal at a civilised hour rather than in the middle of the night? The idea being most want to use the train for a decent night's sleep.
 

najaB

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Are the sleeper trains not dliberately given slow times so that passengers arrive at the terminal at a civilised hour rather than in the middle of the night?
If that was the only reason then they could just let the passengers sleep until a decent wakeup time. The main reason they are pathed so slowly is so that they can take alternative routes during engineering works and still arrive at or close to booked times.
 

Tim R-T-C

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Some of the continental sleepers have a habit of arriving at odd times in the morning and kicking you off quickly, I recall a 6am arrival into Wien from Zurich once.

The UK system letting you stay in the cabins until a slightly more reasonable hour is a good one.
 

Gathursty

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I know from experience the day after such a drive would be painful, if I made it that far. I was thinking that driving out of London would take as much time as a sleeper stops for or am I massively overestimating traffic in London?

I would get the Caledonian Sleeper every time. As for the Night Riviera, it looks much less distance so it is tempting to take a car however I've read many good things on here about the on board service.

I'm on the fence with Google Maps timings as I googled Wigan to Leeds and it didn't appear to take into account the M60 roadworks which drop you to 50mph for a good 10 miles.
 

Philip Phlopp

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Add a Brush locomotive into proceedings and you could walk it quicker, never mind drive it quicker.
 

455driver

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If that was the only reason then they could just let the passengers sleep until a decent wake up time.

Not all passengers want to go to the last station, I am sure the passengers for the intermediate station would appreciate being kicked off the train at 03:00! :roll: ;)

The main reason they are pathed so slowly is so that they can take alternative routes during engineering works and still arrive at or close to booked times.
Is the right answer, even when the train is routed the most convoluted route they are still relatively lax timed for passenger comfort.
 

najaB

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Not all passengers want to go to the last station, I am sure the passengers for the intermediate station would appreciate being kicked off the train at 03:00! :roll: ;)
Exactly. There are many reasons for the leisurely pathing, a convenient arrival time at the terminal station as ANDREW_D_WEBB suggested is pretty far down the list.
 

Phil.

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When it comes to train versus car timings what must be borne in mind is that the train timing is from station to station. The car timing is door to door. Travelling by train means that a passenger has to make the journey at the train's time. Travelling by car means the passenger can travel at any time to suit and up to five people can travel without a significant price increase.
 

Andrewlong

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How about also comparing train with taking internal flight and say hiring car at end to complete journey? If I was wanting to get the sleeper to Scotland, I would want to check out alternatives not just train versus car.
 

Essexman

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If you had cars outside London Euston or Paddington and set them both off at the same time as the respective sleeper services, which would you expect to arrive first at Penzance/Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley/Fort William/Aberdeen?

Let's pick Sunday as a basis and assume the car doesn't need to stop for any reason.

.

May as well pretend the sleeper doesn't stop too then.
People often compare train journey times with road, but forget to add time for the car to stop for petrol, toilet, food, rests, change driver etc. And they assume that there will be no traffic but when they find there is and there's a delay don't get nearly as upset as if a train is late (and nor do they get compensation).
For some journeys car may be better than train (for most people). Some are marginal. Some, particularly overnight sleepers, are far more suited to train travel where someone else is driving and you know you'll get there without risk of falling asleep and crashing on the way.
 

DarloRich

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without traffic (and driving at a similar time to the sleeper) I would say the car would take between 5 1/2 & 6 hours driving within the speed limit to travel between Paddington and Penzance.

With traffic I would say the train would be quicker. Last year it took us nearly 8 hours to drive from south of Helston to Birmingham. We spent nearly 3 hours in a traffic jam over Bodmin!
 

Altnabreac

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If you had cars outside London Euston or Paddington and set them both off at the same time as the respective sleeper services, which would you expect to arrive first at Penzance/Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley/Fort William/Aberdeen?

Let's pick Sunday as a basis and assume the car doesn't need to stop for any reason.

I've been thinking about it today and think it could be quite close between the two.

Train will win to Corrour...
 

VauxhallandI

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May as well pretend the sleeper doesn't stop too then.
People often compare train journey times with road, but forget to add time for the car to stop for petrol, toilet, food, rests, change driver etc. And they assume that there will be no traffic but when they find there is and there's a delay don't get nearly as upset as if a train is late (and nor do they get compensation).
For some journeys car may be better than train (for most people). Some are marginal. Some, particularly overnight sleepers, are far more suited to train travel where someone else is driving and you know you'll get there without risk of falling asleep and crashing on the way.

I get far more "upset" at traffic jams over rail delays.

Rail delays are usually caused by technical difficulties that I can appreciate.

Road delays are usually caused by either driver error or roadworks.

I don't understand why our roadworks are not completed quicker as they cause the country a lot of money. I understand that the order of process for works so you can't necessarily just chuck labour at it however, especially for smaller works there seems to be a lack of urgency.
 

edwin_m

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The car will beat the train, but the car driver wont be in a fit state to do anything the day after

And if there is only one driver then in the second half of the journey they will be a danger to themselves and any other road user, unless they take a break every few hours - extending the journey time accordingly.
 

Greenback

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Why would anyone want to drive for hours through the night rather than sleep in a train or at a hotel? My father did it once and declared it to be horrific.

There's more to it than speed or journey time.
 
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