compartment in a Turkish
State Railways (TCDD)
sleeping car (yataklı vagon) converts
to sleep two people.
compartment has a sink with
running hot and cold water for washing
face and hands, a tiny towel and
bar of soap,
rack, small cabinet,
blind and thick velvet light-blocking
fan or air conditioning,
and a waste receptacle.
220-volt low-amperage electrical
outlet over the sink is
designed for electric shavers. It
will recharge your mobile phone,
camera battery or laptop computer,
but it may cut off after awhile.
Just unplug your device, wait a minute,
and plug it in again, and it will
work for awhile.
TCV2000 sleeping cars
have small mini-bar
drinks and snacks in each compartment,
with a small container of drinking
water and a few snacks for
The berths have
comfortable firm mattresses,
sheets, blankets and pillows. A movable
ladder gives access to the upper
are toilets at each
end of each sleeping car, usually
a flat "elephant's
feet" toilet at one end, and a raised western-style
commode at the other end. The TCV2000
cars also have a tiny shower.
berth not made ready).
car fares are inexpensive by
European or North American standards.
Unlike couchettes or passenger
cars, sleeping compartments
are private: one person
or a couple rent
the entire compartment, assuring
sleeping car has its own porter who
makes the beds in the evening,
converts them to seats in the
morning, brings drinks and snacks
to passengers in the compartments,
announces meal times, and generally
sees to passengers' comfort and welfare.
compartments can be locked from
the inside by their occupants, but
only the porter can lock a compartment
from the corridor.
sleeping compartment berth isn't
as long or wide as a regular bed,
but is fairly comfortable unless
you're over six feet (183 cm) tall
or particularly wide. However, I
find that the porter's way of making
the bed—with both the top and
bottom sheet, and even the blanket,
folded in half and tucked in, doesn't
work for me. I always tear the sheets
and blanket off and re-make the bed
to my liking.
you are sensitive to light when
you sleep, you should bring something
with which to cover the compartment's night
light, which comes on automatically
and is very bright (Turks don't like
sleeping in pitch dark). A 4-inch-by-4-inch
(10 cm by 10 cm) square of cardboard
and some sticky tape would be good.
the spring-loaded window
refuse to stay all the way down,
so jam a slip of paper into the space
on the side between the bottom rail
and the side track. That holds it.
top part of the compartment's window can
usually be opened a bit for fresh
air if you wish, but only if the
window shade is all the way up.
Otherwise, fresh air-conditioned
air is admitted through the vents
at the top of the compartment, and
exits through the vent beneath the
safety notice about sleeping
any sleeping car trip, I usually
pack a 1.5-liter bottle of
water and some snacks.
Sleeping cars are usually ready
for passenger boarding about 30
minutes before departure,
so if you arrive early at the station
you can relax in privacy rather than
wait in the waiting room.
Here are the trains that haul sleeping cars in Turkey.
—by Tom Brosnahan