A look at what the world's best sleeper train journeys cost

Blue Train

As soon as you mention sleeper train, lux brands like Rovos and the Deccan Odyssey spring to mind. 

Sure you can find cheaper alternatives, but the world’s most popular sleeper trains are an experience of note for a reason.

Lavish food, decadent wine selections, all swirled together with cognac and some of Cuba's finest smoking pleasures - Traveller24 recently joined The Blue Train for a leg down from Pretoria to Cape Town - see our insta-stories from the journey here (with the full video and review out next week - subscribe to our weekly destination deep-dive newsletter to ensure you don't miss it). 

READ: The world's 12 most amazing train journeys

There was a lovely mix of local and foreigners on the train - but admittedly mostly foreigners from the likes of UK, Australia and of course the United States. 

In fact I even met a third generation Blue Train traveller. And one things for sure, they do it for the iconic heritage associated with this sleeper train experience. 

In my opinion the dedicated staff on board the Blue Train make it a priceless experience. Yet with more than one globally popular rail sleeper on offer - it does raise the questions - which one offers the best value for money

On The Go Tours, has analysed 10 of the most popular sleeper trains around the world, in an interactive graphic,  taking a look at the cost per mile and distance covered to reveal the best value journey.

The Trans-Siberian Express sleeper train - running from Moscow to Vladivostok - has been revealed as the best value sleeper train with the lowest cost per mile. So, if you’re looking for a sleeper train that won’t break the bank when getting from A to B, the best value route is the Trans Siberian Express, which takes you from Moscow to Vladivostok.

This 9 900km  long trip across Russia costs just £131 (about R2 465 at R18.68/£) altogether for a single occupancy ticket, making it the best value for money on the list.

Another sleeper train which hosts spectacular views at a very reasonable price is the Sri Lanka Railway from Ella to Kandy - which is a grand total of 85 miles. This 6-hour journey will only cost a total of £3.80 (about R70.90 at R18.68/£) and the train route is top of most travellers’ lists when they visit Sri Lanka, as it is both a beautiful and affordable way to see the country.

If a taste of luxury and class is what you’re looking for, The Maharajas Express (Indian Panorama) is the sleeper train for you. 

Detailed as the most expensive train on the list, costing £8 305 (about R155k at R18.68/£) for a seven-day trip. The Maharajas Express, bestowed the World's Leading Luxury Train award at the World Travel Awards for seven consecutive years from 2012 to 2018, is a journey like no other. This bucket list sleeper comes with deluxe cabins, restaurants, bars and world-class service, you can see why some people would invest in this ultimate form of travel.

Here are the Top 10 best value sleeper trains around the world based on cost per mile:

Train and Route: Trans Siberian Express, Moscow - Vladivostok

£/p cost per mile: 0.021 /R0.39

Train and Route: Sri Lanka Railway, Ella - Kandy

£/p cost per mile: 0.045//R0.84

Train and Route: The Red Arrow, Moscow - St Petersburg

£/p cost per mile: 0.117 /R2.18

Train and Route:  The Bergen Railway, Oslo - Bergen 

£/p cost per mile: 0.363 / R6.76


Train and Route: London Euston - Inverness 

£/p cost per mile: 0.542  / R10,10

Train and Route: The Sunrise Seto, Tokyo - Takamatsu

£/p cost per mile: 0.890 / R16.58

Train and Route: The Blue Train, Pretoria - Cape Town 

£/p cost per mile: 1.467 / R27.32

Train and Route: Deccan Odyssey Mumbai - Mumbai (via Vadodara - Palitana - Sasan Gir & Somnath - Little Rann of Kutch - Modhera & Patan - Nashik)

£/p cost per mile: 2.814 / R52.34

Train and Route: Belmond Andean Explorer, Cusco - Arequipa

£/p cost per mile: 5.132 / R95.58

Train and Route: Maharajas Express (Indian Panorama)

Delhi - Delhi (via Jaipur – Ranthambore and Fatehpur Sikri – Agra – Orchha and Khajuraho – Varanasi) 

£/p cost per mile: 5.796 / R107,95

 (Compiled by Selene Brophy | Source: On The Go Tours

*Disclaimer: Traveller24 Editor Selene Brophy was hosted for the duration of her stay on board the Blue Train by Transnet Rail.  

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