Posted 23rd June 2023 | 1 Comment

Serco bids farewell to Caledonian Sleeper

The last Scottish sleeper services operated by the private sector will run tonight.

The Scottish Government has terminated the Serco Caledonian Sleeper franchise, which began in 2015. The services between the Highlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London will be controlled in future by a public sector company.

On 5 October last year, Scottish transport secretary Jenny Gilruth had said: ‘Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited has been advised that its proposal to rebase the Franchise Agreement with Scottish Ministers for the provision of Caledonian Sleeper rail services has been rejected on the grounds of not representing value for money to the public.

‘A notice was served today which confirms that the Scottish Ministers will terminate the Franchise Agreement with Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited on 25 June 2023.’

In a farewell message, the managing director of Serco’s transport business John Whitehurst said: ‘We are immensely proud of everything that we have achieved since we were awarded the contract to run the Caledonian Sleeper in 2014.

‘During the eight years since Serco’s inaugural services departed, we have brought about massive improvements to every aspect of the service for our employees, our passengers and for Scotland, despite having made significant losses on the contract.

‘These improvements have been an extraordinary achievement by everyone involved in running the service and we are grateful to everyone for their hard work, and we wish them all good luck and a great future. We hand the Caledonian Sleeper over to the Scottish Government in great shape, secure in the knowledge that this is now a world class service that represents the best of Scotland.’

Reader Comments:

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  • david C smith, Bletchley

    One thing I've wondered over the years - it could improve the economics of overnight / sleeper trains if the rolling stock could find utilisation not just overnight, but round the full 24 hours.

    How feasible could that be ? Standard class reclining seats would be an easy answer for day or night use, but how do the full sleeping compartments fare? It would be interesting to see modern answers to this ( in N America and Continental Europe , in particular ).