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From traditional train operator to award-winning and iconic overnight service

The Caledonian Sleeper, the night train between London and Scotland, was in 2014 in need of a fresh start. Therefore, the Scottish Government chose Serco Transport to procure and develop a modern, market-driven concept developed for both business and private travellers and tourists. We took on the task with the vision of upgrading the Caledonian Sleeper to a top-class travel experience, and today the line is both popular and award-winning.

Caledonian Sleeper guard at station

A new way of thinking

The success of the Caledonian Sleeper is based on a careful analysis of travelers' needs and market demand. Based on the realization that the night train competes not only with other ways of traveling but also with hotels, we created a hybrid concept between hotel rooms and travel. 


"Caledonian Sleeper is not a train journey, it is a nightly escape from big city noise to the countryside" - Lonely Planet

Caledonian Sleeper evening meal with a drink

Success factors

• A modern approach to sales - which means, among other things, an innovative ticket system with flexible pricing, and new ticket types such as the family ticket with two compartments next to each other

• The acquisition of seventy-five modern carriages, which give the traveler a real hotel room feeling. An example is compartments with double beds and bathroom ensuite

• Major investment in marketing with a focus on the travel experience and the opportunities with the night train

"The world's best night train"

During the first two years, the number of passengers increased by as much as twenty-six percent, and the travel guide Lonely Planet named the line one of the world's best train journeys. The line is especially popular with business travelers.

The concept also means an economic boost to the region: To make Caledonian Sleeper truly reflect the best that Scotland has to offer, we chose to work with local small business owners on everything from food and drink to staff uniforms, which so far has resulted in more than 3.5 million to the Scottish business community.