Published: 5th July 2016
A mock-up of how new Caledonian Sleeper carriages will look on overnight journeys between Scotland and London has been revealed.
Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP has inspected the mock-up with Peter Strachan, the Managing Director of the Caledonian Sleeper franchise.
The design of the train follows consultation on what people would like to see on the overnight services linking Aberdeen, Inverness, Fort William, Edinburgh and Glasgow with London Euston.
Some of the rooms on the accommodation carriages will include en-suite toilets and on-board showers. And some rooms will be doubles, a UK first.
Access to the overnight sleeping accommodation will be by hotel-style key cards.
The prototypes for new vehicles were shown to Mr Yousaf at a warehouse near Edinburgh. The actual carriages, to replace existing ones, are being built by CAF in Spain.
Changes are also planned for Lounge Cars on the trains, with more seating options and menus offering what the company describes as the best of Scottish produce.
Scottish interior designer Ian Smith has overseen the look and feel of the new carriages, with the patterns reflecting a contemporary Scotland, according to the company and the Scottish Government’s agency Transport Scotland.
Mr Strachan said: “Sitting with Humza Yousaf aboard the new Lounge Car allowed us to fast forward to 2018 and get a real feel for what will be a new standard of overnight travel between Scotland and London.
“We have made a number of improvements to the design plans for the new Caledonian Sleeper based on discussion with stakeholders and model testing, most notably the introduction of double beds which will enhance the Caledonian Sleeper’s reputation for being one of the world’s most enchanting travel experiences.”
More than £150m is being invested in the new fleet, including funding from the UK and devolved Scottish governments. Mr Yousaf said: “The Scottish government is committed to improving every aspect of Scotland’s railways, no less so than on one of the truly iconic Scottish rail services.
“When investing upwards of £60m, we wanted a new sleeper service that incorporated cutting-edge design, top-class passenger catering and a service that was emblematic of the very best Scotland has to offer. We also wanted a service that would enhance travel options to and from London as well as encourage more tourists to visit Scotland.”
The introduction of new trains in 2018 will be the culmination of investment since Serco took on the new franchise in April 2015. Previously, Scotland/London sleepers were part of the ScotRail franchise, which is now separate.
The Great Western Riviera Sleeper fleet is being overhauled at Wolverton Works. A total of 20 carriages are going through the Works and being outshopped in a deep green livery.
The interiors are being completely upgraded and will revolutionise the journey between London and Cornwall. There are five different vehicle types going through Works ranging from catering to seating carriages.
Two redundant sleeper vehicles are being cannibalised to provide spares for the upgraded fleet. The service is thought to lose around £2million a year but politically it’s worth is far more!
As with the Anglo-Scottish sleepers, the financial loss is underwritten by Government as when they planned to scrap all services 20 years ago, the political uproar was too powerful and the trains continued to operate.