Nobody actually knows why the notorious ´Death Train´ actually bears this name. Lonely Planet offers a couple of explanations, from people falling off the train to getting stuck for days... Anyhow, we expected an adventure! But... as I have discussed with many fellow backpackers, it seems that the golden days of travelling and braving adventures are over!
We arrived at the train station about one hour before departure - well prepared with 2 liters of water each, sandwiches, cookies, apples... We had even worked out a plan of who would watch the baggage so the other one could sleep - or go to the toilet ;-) Unfortunately - the Deaf Train no longer merits is name!
Before boarding the train you have to check-in your baggage, just like on an airport. Once on board a nice attendand helps you to find your seat (all numbered, mind you!) and turns on the video screen providing on-board entertainment.
And this is where I discovered why nobody actually knows why the Death Train is called like that! It´s a pure misunderstanding - it shouldn´t be Death Train but Deaf Train, as after 11 hours of blaring salsa music you won´t be death but deaf! So forget about taking bottles of water and survival kits (you will be served dinner and breakfast) but make sure to bring quality earplugs - you will need it!