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The Compartment of Dreams

To travel is to dream

Track

5-6

Since 1972, many people have regarded interrailing as the ticket to several weeks of adventure, exciting experiences and an intoxicating sense of freedom. Before then, it was the Orient Express and the beautiful blue Wagons-Lits cars. With The Compartment of Dreams, the Danish Railway Museum provides a historical account of Danes travelling by rail to distant destinations.

For many people, interrailing will evoke memories of crowded trains and endless waiting time at railway stations around Europe. Others will think of ouzo, a holiday romance, parties around the clock and the encounter with exotic places far away from Denmark.

The Compartment of Dreams recounts two contrasting modes of travel in the history of train travel: young people’s chaotic Interrail journeys during the 1970s to the 1990s are contrasted with the journeys undertaken by the well-to-do in the blue Wagons-Lits cars, often referred to as luxury hotels on rails, which followed known routes to colourful destinations in the early 1900s.

 

To travel is to dream

The Compartment of Dreams is first and foremost an exhibition, focusing on dreams and memories rather than technology and timetables. There are sounds and smells in the exhibition which support the account, and as is the case in the Museum’s other exhibitions, visitors are permitted on board the carriages. It is in this authentic environment that the dreams are awakened. Here, we encounter the dreams of previous passengers and here, exhibition visitors can entertain their own dreams of far-away destinations.

The Compartment of Dreams

Tove Eriksen and a couple of friends, ready to go interrailing in 1978

Tove Eriksen and a couple of friends, ready to go interrailing in 1978

At the travel agency, you need to choose your form of travel - Interrail or Wagons-Lits?

At the travel agency, you need to choose your form of travel - Interrail or Wagons-Lits?

Every compartment is decorated with mementos from Interrailers

Every compartment is decorated with mementos from Interrailers

Arrived at Gare du Nord in Paris in the early evening

Arrived at Gare du Nord in Paris in the early evening

Wagons-Lits was luxury on rails

Wagons-Lits was luxury on rails

The Wagons-Lits sleeping cars had compartments with beautifully made beds

The Wagons-Lits sleeping cars had compartments with beautifully made beds

Interrail or Wagons-Lits?

At the exhibition, we have recreated a travel agency and Gare du Nord in the early evening. An Interrail carriage and an evocative Wagons-Lits sleeping car are central exhibits.

When you enter the exhibition, you will see a travel agency. Here you choose your form of travel: do you want to board the luxurious Wagons-Lits car to a planned destination or the tattered Interrail carriage taking a random course? Choose the ticket that is right for you! The final destination is Paris where visitors, irrespective of travel form, arrive at Gare du Nord under a blanket of stars, ready for new adventures.