It’s not the dinky pack of essentials – a pen, socks, ear plugs and body lotion, since you ask. And it’s not the deserted lounge car where you just know so many personal dramas have played. Nor is it the strangeness of being in your pyjamas in the heart of a busy station in a bustling city.
No. The magic of the sleeper happens when you go through the barrier from the neon lit, pigeon splattered concourse of Big Macs, Body Shops and drunks.
Down the chilly platform to where the train doors are open and there’s someone waiting for you with a clipboard. “This way madam.”
Like Harry Potter, you’re in a place where the rules are different.
The spell dissolves in reverse when you get there too. The special hush of the Sleeper platform gives way to crowds and Tannoys and ordinary, everyday life.