Overnight sleeper trains are facing a tough time across Europe.
Lockdowns of varying degrees have depressed travel demand and as we reported recently Austria’s OEBB has suspended some Nightjets.
And now in the UK Caledonian Sleeper has suspended over 50 per cent of its services owing to lockdown.
There will only be services on two routes: Edinburgh and Inverness.
The routes which will not operate until after December 4 are those from London Euston to Glasgow, Fort William and Aberdeen.
Glasgow was not suspended in the previous lockdown. That it is suspended now, suggests that Caledonian Sleeper – whose operating costs are paid by the government under ’emergency measures’ – is expecting fewer travellers owing to increased Covid cases there.
Sleeper services have returned to fashion in recent times not least because single accommodation can be booked.
The latter fact is a further boost during these Covid-19 times.
However overnight sleeper trains are costly to operate in terms of utilisation, staffing levels and passenger volume (the number of passengers that can be carried per train).
So it’s no surprise to learn that the most recent financial figures for Caledonian Scot show an increased loss.
In addition there are many other product changes (too many to mention here) and I suggest you check these on the firm’s website.
But briefly there is no seated accommodation at present and the Club Car, a highlight for any journey, remains closed.
For that reason Caledonian Sleeper advises passengers to bring along their own food and beverages for consumption in their cabin.
A simplified breakfast is provided and delivered to passengers’ cabins although “it will be placed outside your door” according to the website. And “Due to the restrictions we are unable to offer hot beverages.”
I also recommend travellers check lounge availability and facilities. Some have been closed and showering facilities are currently unavailable.
Although these suspended services are expected to resume in early December, readers must note the situation is fluid.