The excitement began when our tour manager, John, announced that after checking in at Washington DC Union Station we would be taken into the “first class boarding lounge” where complimentary soft drinks and light refreshments would be available and sofas etc. Here we would wait for an hour or so before boarding onto our first sleeper train of the trip- The Capitol Limited, a sleeper service that runs daily between Washington DC and Chicago covering over 700 miles. We had been given our car and room numbers previously, and pre warned that the rooms “are small, very small“. He wasn’t kidding, but where the rooms are on the small side, the trains themselves more than make up for- walking alongside before boarding it felt like we were standing next to a jumbo jet! They are HUGE. Double deckered, silver and intimadating. Fantastic!
We were greeted by our car steward, shown our room, and asked to wait until the restaurant steward came to take our restaurant booking. Included in the price, we got a dinner and breakfast at the on board restaurant. The mood was good as everyone was discovering their rooms for the first time- as motorhomers, Keith and I found the rooms to be more than big enough. Two nice sized chairs with a big window, that converted into bunk beds, a closet, table, bin, temperature controls, plug socket and complimentary coffee/water. Perfect. Just down for us was the shower and 3 toilets.
Keith got his shower in early and I made our dinner reservation for 7pm when the steward came round. We went to check out the observation car, which was a fantastic glass roof/sided car with chairs positioned to get maximum viewing enjoyment. Next to this was a bar so we set up stall here for a few hours, enjoying watching the American countryside whizz by. It was very relaxing.
By now the sun was going down, so we watched the sunset with a glass of scotch before asking our steward to arrange our beds for us. I took the top bunk, and found the security strap hilarious – it reminded me of something from 50 shades.
I wouldn’t say we had the most peaceful nights sleep in the world, however we managed to get some sleep. The rocking of the train was quite gentle although every now and again it would jolt so hard you thought you would fall out! At about 06:00 we decided to get up and have our breakfast- we opted for the Breakfast special which was sausage, eggs, French toast, croissant, strawberries and maple syrup. An interesting mix but it was delicious! Whilst having breakfast we met an interesting American couple who we enjoyed sharing stories with.
After breakfast we went back to our room and snoozed for an hour or so before arriving at Chicago at a slightly later than scheduled time (2 hours late!) it didn’t matter though, we had survived our first overnight sleeper journey and absolutely loved it!