New Caledonian Sleeper to launch in October
Report by Alex McWhirter
Hauled through the Channel Tunnel the first five new coaches for Caledonian Sleeper have arrived in Glasgow.
All told 75 coaches have been ordered from CAF of Spain to relaunch Caledonian Sleeper at a cost of £100 million.
The new more luxurious rolling stock will replace the existing British Rail coaches dating from the 1980s.
Much of the sleeper accommodation will have en-suite facilities (the current stock has no en-suite facilities). In addition, passengers booking a room will be guaranteed solo occupancy (unless sharing with a partner).
The downside will be higher prices from October.
One-way journeys are:
- Comfort (sit-up) seats from £45
- Classic rooms (twin or single) from £85 per person
- Club rooms (en-suite) from £125 per person
- Suites (double bed en-suite) from £200 per person.
Seemingly most of the accommodation is aimed at the business and wealthy leisure markets.
One advantage is that the sleeper train makes a number of en route stops at towns/cities in Scotland which have no easy access to an airport.
Another advantage is that the overnight train (with its higher standards) will, it is hoped, be a realistic alternative to paying for costly hotel accommodation and especially in London and Edinburgh.
Serco, which took over the franchise from Scotrail in 2015, reports a 21 per cent increase in passenger numbers after years of decline.
The new rolling stock will initially debut on the “Lowlander” route linking London Euston with Edinburgh and Glasgow. At a later date they will take over the other services between London, Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William.
Tickets will be available for booking from next month (exact date yet to be confirmed).
Humza Yousaf MSP (minister for transport and islands) said “The Caledonian Sleeper is an iconic rail service recognised in Scotland and across the world. The introduction of new rolling stock with features new to UK rail, can only enhance its reputation.”