Sleeping car

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The sleeping car or sleeper (often wagon-lits) is a railway/railroad passenger car that can accommodate all its passengers in beds of one kind or another, primarily for the purpose of making nighttime travel more restful. The first such cars saw sporadic use on American railroads in the 1830s and could be configured for coach seating during the day. Some of the more luxurious types have private rooms, that is to say fully- and solidly-enclosed rooms that are not shared with strangers.

In the United States today, all regularly-scheduled sleeping car services are operated by Amtrak. Amtrak offers sleeping cars on most of its overnight trains, using modern cars of the private-room type exclusively. In Canada, all regularly scheduled sleeping car services are operated by VIA Rail Canada, using a mixture of relatively-new cars and refurbished mid-century ones; the latter cars include both private rooms and "open section" accommodations.

An example of a more basic type of sleeping car is the European couchette car, which is divided into compartments for four or six people, with bench-configuration seating during the day and "privacyless" double- or triple-level bunk-beds at night. Even more basic is the Chinese "hard" sleeping car in use today, consisting of fixed bunk beds, which cannot be converted into seats, in a public space. Chinese trains also offer "soft" or deluxe sleeping cars with four or two beds per room.



The Cumberland Valley Railroad pioneered sleeping car service in the spring of 1839, with a car named "Chambersburg," between Chambersburg and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A couple of years later a second car, the "Carlisle," was introduced into service.[1][2]

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