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Serco selected for new Caledonian Sleeper rail franchise

Published: 28 May 2014

Serco Group plc, the international service company, has been selected by Transport Scotland to manage the new 15-year franchise for the Caledonian Sleeper service which is to be operated separately from the main ScotRail franchise.  From April 2015, Serco will be responsible for operating all aspects of the Caledonian Sleeper including marketing, sales, passenger services, station facilities and fleet maintenance.  To meet Transport Scotland's aim of transforming the service, over £100m will be invested in new rolling stock which, together with many other innovative changes, will give a dramatically improved customer experience.  The Sleeper service provides a vital connection between London and Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Fort William, Glasgow, Inverness and many other of Scotland's main towns and cities.

Total revenue to Serco over the 15-year franchise period is estimated at up to £800m, of which approximately £180m will be in the form of franchise payments.  A gain share agreement is included to incentivise performance improvements.

The new fleet, representing an investment of over £100m, is expected to be introduced by the summer of 2018.  Reflecting their aspirations for the service, this is part-funded by a £60m capital grant from Scottish Ministers.  The fleet, to be built by leading rolling stock manufacturer CAF, will be leased to Serco by Beacon Rail.  Significant improvements include en-suite berths, Pod Flatbeds used for the first time in rail, and a brasserie-style Club Car.  Customers will also benefit from being able to book through a new website with a much broader range of fares, earlier boarding of the trains, the ability to manage their journey virtually and use of many other new service features.

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The new Caledonian Sleeper franchise is centred on creating an outstanding hospitality service that is emblematic of the best of Scotland.  Serco will improve significantly the guest service using our extensive transport and tourism experience, together with that of our partners including leading Scottish hotel business Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI) and the Michelin-starred chef Albert Roux OBE KFO.  Serco also plans to promote and support Scottish enterprise by sourcing local products and produce from small and medium-sized businesses.  These changes, combined with the new sales and reservation system and other improvements in marketing, are anticipated to provide greater market penetration and growth in passenger numbers from UK residents travelling on business or leisure, as well as international tourists.

Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive Officer, said: "Serco has a strong track record of providing high quality and efficient rail services around the world, as well as experience in managing large-scale tourism-focussed transport services.  I am delighted that we can use this unique blend of expertise to transform the iconic Caledonian Sleeper into a modern, high quality hospitality service to make Scotland proud.  Serco has a very constructive relationship with many parts of Scottish Government and already operates essential public transport and many other services.  With 3,000 Serco employees living and working in Scotland, we are tremendously excited to be delivering these new developments and meeting the vision of Transport Scotland."


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