One easy and relatively cheap way to get to Luxor from Cairo is on the overnight trains operated by Ernst Watania. A compartment is fairly reasonably priced and allows you to travel overnight, arriving in Luxor early the next morning.
Regular seats are cheaper, and a more inexpensive way still is the first-class section of a regular train. The lights are always on and the air-conditioning functions sporadically, but the first-class trains otherwise are comfortable enough—at least until you need a bathroom break: Come prepared with your own tissue, seat covers, hand sanitizer, closed-toe shoes, and a strong constitution. From Cairo to Luxor, a one-way ticket is £E94 in first class. At this writing, foreigners traveling by train from Cairo were all but forbidden to take second-class trains and could only buy first-class tickets for travel at night; by day, Egyptian commuters are the priority passengers. You can also take the train from Luxor to Aswan, day or night; fares are £E43 first class.
Comfortable sleeper cars run by private company Ernst Watania make the daily trip to Luxor from the cavernous Ramses Station in central Cairo. Buy tickets at least 10 days in advance at the Ernst Watania office in the station, or arrange for tickets through a local travel agent. At this writing, this is the train schedule: Train 1902 leaves Cairo at 12:05 am , reaching Luxor at 9:45 am; Train 980 departs Cairo at 8 am , arriving in Luxor at 6:15 pm ; Train 982 departs Cairo at noon and arrives at 10:20 pm; Train 988 departs Cairo at 7 pm and arrives at 4:25 am; Train 88 departs Cairo at 8 pm and arrives at 6:20 am; Train 86 departs Cairo at 8:15 pm and arrives at 6:40 am; Train 996 departs Cairo at 10 pm and arrives at 7:35 am; Train 886 departs Cairo at 11:15 pm and arrives at 9 am. For the return trip, Train 2003 departs Luxor at 4:15 am, reaching Cairo at 1:35 pm; Train 981 leaves Luxor at 8:45 am and arrives in Cairo at 7:10 pm; Train 983 departs Luxor at 10:35 am, reaching Cairo at 9:20 pm; Train 934 departs Luxor at noon and arrives in Cairo at 10:05 pm; Train 887 departs Luxor at 6:20 pm and arrives in Cairo at 4:15 am; Train 977 departs Luxor at 7 pm, arriving in Cairo at 4:55 am; Train 87 departs Luxor at 10:30 pm, arriving in Cairo at 8:30 am; Train 997 departs Luxor at 11:15 pm and arrives in Cairo at 9:15 am; Train 89 departs Luxor at 11:45 pm, arriving in Cairo at 10:25 am; Train 989 departs Luxor at 1 am and arrives in Cairo at 10:45 am. The price (per journey) of a single couchette with dinner and breakfast is $120; a double with dinner and breakfast costs $100 per person. These fares must be paid in a foreign currency, not Egyptian pounds.
Abela. Ramses Train Station, 02/2574–9474; www.sleepingtrains.com.