Serco's plans are well underway to transform the iconic Caledonian Sleeper service into an outstanding hospitality service that is emblematic of the best of Scotland. Work to build 75-new coaches for the Caledonian Sleeper will soon get underway after Serco agreed signed key contracts to manufacture 75 new Sleeper coaches. Serco signed contracts with Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) for the manufacturing of the new fleet and Alstom UK for maintenance of the coaches.
The fleet of 75 new coaches will be built and manufactured by CAF for the Caledonian Sleeper service for introduction into service in April 2018. These are being leased by the specialist rail asset financing arm of Lombard, part of The Royal Bank of Scotland, and is supported by additional funding provided by the Scottish Ministers. CAF will continue to support the new fleet with a contract to supply and manage spares whilst the coaches will be maintained by Alstom.
The new coaches will offer four innovative ways to travel in comfort on the Sleeper service; Cradle Seats, Pod Flatbeds, Berths and En-Suite Berths, and will include a Brasserie style Club Car for dining. Edinburgh-based designer Ian Smith is responsible for creating a 'contemporary' style for the new coaches.
The Cradle Seats will provide an improved seated experience with reclining seats and footrests. The Pod Flatbeds will fully recline from a seat into a bed and offer a privacy screen and a reading light. The Berths ensure privacy and personal security as well as all the facilities the modern traveller needs. The En-Suite Berths are also available and provide en-suite toilet and shower facilities.
The maintenance of the 75 new coaches will be undertaken by Alstom under a 15-year service contract. Alstom has been providing maintenance services for the Caledonian Sleeper trains for more than a decade. During the first three years, Alstom will carry out preventive and corrective maintenance work on the existing Sleeper coaches, ensuring that the coaches continue to function to their highest potential. From 2018, Alstom will maintain the new fleet for the remaining 12 years of the contract. The maintenance will be carried out at Alstom's Polmadie (Glasgow) and Wembley (London) traincare centres with daily servicing to be carried out at Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness. Planned overhauls will continue at the Inverness depot.
Serco will begin running the improved service from 1 April 2015. Peter Strachan, Serco's Managing Director for the new Caledonian Sleeper said, "This is a major milestone in our plans to deliver an innovative new Caledonian Sleeper service. I'm absolutely delighted we have signed contracts with our partners and look forward to delivering an improved service from 1st April 2015 and from 2018 when we introduce the innovative new coaches into service.Read more
The new Caledonian Sleeper service will provide a great alternative to other rail and air travel between London and Scotland. After a relaxing night on board, sleeping while on the move, our guests will arrive at their destination first thing in the morning refreshed and ready to go."
Other plans to transform the Caledonian Sleeper service into an outstanding hospitality offering that is emblematic of the best of Scotland are well underway. This includes all aspects of the operation of the Caledonian Sleeper franchise; marketing, sales, hospitality service on the trains, vehicle maintenance and the provision of facilities at stations for guests.
The new branding and online booking system were both launched last month, marking the first in a series of improvements that Serco has begun to deliver for the iconic Sleeper service. Sleeper.scot allows customers to book the overnight Sleeper services up to 12 months in advance of their travel date - a first for any UK rail operator.