New Caledonian Sleeper launch beset by delays

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  AMcWhirter 21 May 2019
at 12:35
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  • AMcWhirter
    Participant

    As we reported last week Caledonian Sleeper with its new rolling stock made its initial run last night.

    New Caledonian Sleeper to launch one month early

    But unfortunately both services (north- and southbound) were badly delayed by technical issues of one sort or another.

    It wasn’t helped by the launch clashing with the WCML closure (the normal route) for overnight engineering works. Instead the sleeper had to operate via the ECML.

    However that meant that to access the ECML from Euston the train had to reverse at Wembley before taking a suburban line to link up with the ECML.

    https://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/inaugural-new-caledonian-sleeper-service-delayed-three-hours-1-4916729

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/29/caledonian-sleeper-launches-new-trains-which-arrive-hours-late


    Montysaurus
    Participant

    My wife and I travelled on it last night. Upside – a good cabin with good ensuite facilities which is much appreciated; my only grouse is no hangers as there were on the previous trains so dealing with a suit could be tricky, unless there is a hidden facility which we failed to find. Downside – we arrived at Euston at about 2230 expecting to board the train but the rolling stock turned up at 2345 (departure time 2353) so had to stand around for over 1.5 hours (as we couldn’t board until about 20 minutes after it arrived) with no information other than “train will be here soon” and “it will be boarding soon”. When you see a group of staff all peering intensely at something and all speaking on their mobiles it suggests a further problem! Teething problems occur but the lack of information and assistance was appalling.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Montysaurus – Many thanks for the report. I did hear that the Monday night service was also delayed departing Euston with a late arrival at its destination (but not as late as on the inaugural trip).

    There is no excuse for the paucity of information.

    As we noted in the many pieces we have written on new Caledonian Sleeper (and the piece in the April issue of Business Traveller [Paywall applies] this service is now aimed at business travellers and wealthy leisure customers from here and from overseas.


    canucklad
    Participant

    No excuse for lack of information, even if its an issue/s with Network rail as was reported widely in the Scottish press.
    I’d assume Network Rail employ a lot of engineers to do work on the graveyard shift ?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    MarcusGB
    Participant

    Sadly, i do not find the need to travel to Scotland. But i do travel on the GWR Night Riviera service to Cornwall, recently refurbished.
    https://www.gwr.com/about-us/modernising-gwr/night-riviera

    I think they are less sparse than the designs above, cosy, warm, intimate, very welcoming. It has a “Vintage feel” taking a sleeper train in the UK, part of our great history (that once was) of Rail travel in this country. I find it a gentle relaxing time, and that is rare with travel within Europe these days, let alone the UK.

    But i find it strikingly beneficial to use overnight time, where i can sleep and rest, to get to where i need to be at the beginning of the next day, with complete Privacy!
    My choice to make my experience as i need it, which you do not get on a daytime 5 hr + service even in 1st Class. It is busy, noisy, often delayed, stressful, & not very secure leaving all you have, to walk around a train. I am pleased we retain these services, they are well supported, give a much needed boost to more remote areas of the UK, that lack frequent, or many domestic transportation options. Gone are the days where transport is run for the benefit of regions or communities, it is all about profit.
    So i do advocate for, and support the UK sleeper services, and i think it should be a Duty of Government, to retain them. More, would take away daytime overcrowded rail, road and air services in the UK, and lead to far better experiences, and full days for business or leisure on arrival!

    4 users thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Hello Marcus – FYI our Mark Caswell has published a Tried and Tested on the GWR sleeper.

    Rail review: GWR Night Riviera cabin sleeper service


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    This piece from the FT [paywall may apply] covers the Monday night departure from London Euston.

    It was also delayed on departure as the train “was stuck at a rail depot in Wembley.”

    The sleeper did eventually depart but not until the early hours of Tuesday.

    https://www.ft.com/content/531dcd24-6b65-11e9-9ff9-8c855179f1c4


    MarcusGB
    Participant

    Thanks for the excellent review link for the Riviera Sleeper train Alex/ Mark.

    The Lounge in Paddington is small compared to the numbers on the trains. It is full, certainly “Raided” early, and little to eat, a plate of sandwiches quickly gone.
    I notice many people buying food at the station, and taking it on board.
    A lounge has been opened at penzance now also. Not as convenient to travel back, as it arrives just after 5am into Paddington.
    I presume this is due to rush hr trains in the Capital compared to SW.

    There is something rather cosy being in bed when you leave the Paddington, i presume naked as pyjamas would be excessive to needs?
    Warning: Don’t get up in the Morning early, and open the curtains to see where you are in a station, as the commuters on the stations going the other way, realise this.
    It seems to be a form of entertainment, and not quite awake i did so once, and a row of them started to point and two gave a “Thumbs up”!, i did smile / laugh equally back!
    I think “Scores out of 10” cards should be held up!!!

    Will check the cafe concept on my trip in 2 weeks time from Cornwall to London, my first sleeper that way, put off by the awkward arrival time.
    The Bar chairs do look rather strange, more an Impaling! Still, you would provide the entertainment for SW Nurses & Dr’s on an A & E night shift in the SW if they brought you in, stuck on one of those!

    A comment stating “Everyone knows the men will pee in the sink”, does need some research.
    Maybe a BT survey anonymous of course, would reveal the % of men that do, on the Caledonian & Riviera services?!!!
    This could be very commercially viable for future planning.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    I understand that the new rolling stock will be extended to the London-Inverness/Fort William/Aberdeen services from July.

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