Train Case

Have you ever traveled by train?  Not commuter train but on a train to a destination far enough away to sleep overnight on a train?  How did you pack for the trip?  Ladies in the early 1900’s took a Train Case or a small Traveling Case complete with enough necessities to make their trip less stressful, allow them to enjoy some of the comforts of home, and freshen up a bit before reaching their destination.

During the beginning of the 20th century train travel was the height of fashion and the fastest way to get from point A to point B.  Ladies that traveled owned a “Train Case” or a “Vanity Case” to hold enough incidentals to get through one or two days on the train; all organized in a small suitcase lined with bottles and jars to hold lotions and powders and enough space for a change of underthings and bedclothes.  Any of the better shops carried these fine leather traveling case with hard sides covered in luxurious leather usually outfitted with padded silk lining matching the leather color of the exterior; holding several silver topped bottles and jars, a brush set with a little oval mirror, each item held in place around the outside wall of the case with matching leather straps and enough space for a lady’s night things and a few spare items needed for her journey.  These cases were a necessity and often included with a quality set of luggage.

As a child we occasionally sold train cases in our basement salvage sales(I wrote about these sales in July 2018).  These travel cases were not left on the train often but when they were Dad picked them up because they sold easily.

When I was young, a train case in my understanding was nothing more than a ladies make-up case.  It wasn’t till I was in my teens and started to see more of the world that I realized it was intended to hold enough for one day while your other luggage got shipped in a luggage car and not easily accessible on your train trip.

Looking on the internet for an example of a true train case was difficult.  I only found one photo for a lady’s case and one for a man’s case.  Too many of these charming cases have been re-purposed and found new lives as something other than intended.

Today, people are re-purposing these small squarish suitcases into all kinds of storage devises, a diaper station, a room accent, sewing/crafting case, file box, etc. If you are lucky enough to find one of these sweet cases look on Pinterest for ways to re-purpose it into something fabulous to accent your home or better yet, pack that train case and plan a train trip to some place fabulous.


  1. I’d love one of those cases (of which I have never previously heard!) but if I was lucky enough to get one I wouldn’t ‘repurpose’ it, it would stay exactly as it was though the only way I could use it for its original purpose would be the overnight train from București to the north of Romania. I used to do this journey often in my early time in Romania.
    Before that, as a journalist, I fairly frequently took an overnight train from Scotland back to my work in London.
    However, where I’d really like to use one is on a journey I’ve done only once, never to be forgotten, the Orient Express. I even took the Agatha Christie with me, and survived!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow …the Orient Express? So envious. It’s on my bucket list to take a train trip trough Europe but not sure if that will ever happen. And yes, those train cases are wonderful. Every time I come across one it’s already been repurposed and has lost its charm for me but, I keep looking.


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