Posted 1st April 2015 | 1 Comment

First Serco sleepers run overnight

THE first Caledonian Sleeper services to be separated from the main ScotRail franchise have run on the routes between Scotland and London.

The new Serco contract began in time for the departure of the first Tuesday night service, the portion from Fort William.

The contract includes a replacement fleet from 2018.

Serco, who have taken over from FirstGroup, said the sleeper services would be "transformed into a world-class rail hospitality experience", and that "Guests will enjoy a range of improvements on board, including a transformed menu showcasing the best of Scotland’s food and drink, comfortable soft furnishings and new Arran Aromatics sleep packs to aid relaxation and a good night’s sleep".

Managing director Peter Strachan said: "We are looking forward to transforming the service into a world class hospitality experience and we will further enhance it ahead of the launch of the new fleet in 2018.”

Scottish transport minister Derek Mackay added: “It won’t just be passengers who benefit. Small and medium-sized Scottish businesses up and down the country are involved in supplying the new service and staff will have the opportunity to receive qualification-level training.

“From today, passengers can immediately start to enjoy the new catering offering and hospitality-style service, and this kicks off the countdown to the £150 million fleet of new Sleeper trains due to arrive in 2018.”

The new fleet, built by Spanish train-maker CAF, is costing more than £160 million. It is being paid for with the help of a £60 million capital grant from the Scottish Government. The trains will offer ensuite berths, Pod flatbeds and a brasserie-style Club Car, said Serco.

The look of the sleeper business is changing now, however, with the unveiling of a new logo which features a white stag.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • david c smith, milton keynes

    One factor that probably detrects from the economics of sleeper trains is low utilisation - trains that lie idle during daytime hours.

    We could have rolling stock that is convertible between day and night use round-the-clock every 24 houre, perhaps with reclining seats for the economy traveller through to convertible private compartments for the luxury end trains . London-Highlands trainscould perform a complete out-and-home diagram each 24 hours, whilst trains to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cornwall could cover 3 single journeys.

    With improved utilisation and hence productivity, giving better economics perhaps one or two additional long-distance ( cross-country ?) services of this type could become viable.