The website for the new Caledonian Sleeper service, sleeper.scot launches today, allowing customers to book the overnight Sleeper services linking Scotland and London Euston from 1 April 2015. The new website allows customers to book up to 12 months in advance of their travel date - a first for any UK rail operator.
As part of the launch, a White Stag was also unveiled as the brand icon for the new Sleeper service, in the first of a series of improvements in preparation for the start of the new service on 1 April 2015.
The new Sleeper brand features a White Stag and will be seen online, across marketing materials, uniforms and onboard the trains. Intrinsically linked to Scotland, this almost mythical creature will act as an icon, helping customers to rediscover a national treasure that is the Caledonian Sleeper.
The stag is already synonymous with the Fort William to London route, known to many as the Deerstalker. The new Caledonian Sleeper White Stag has a strong contemporary look with its five point antlers representing the three Highland and two Lowland destinations.
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 Caledonian Sleeper is using Scottish boutique suppliers - including award-winning Glasgow fashion designer ten30 for the uniforms and Aberdeen social enterprise Glencraft for beds. Edinburgh-based interior designer Ian Smith will transform the new Guest Services Centre in Inverness and the interiors of the new trains, which will be introduced into service from 2018.
Peter Strachan, Serco's Managing Director for the new Caledonian Sleeper, said: "Our new booking and reservation system, sleeper.scot allows passengers to plan and book their travel up to 12 months in advance, a first for any UK rail operator. This marks the first in a series of improvements we are introducing to the iconic Sleeper service. We are really proud of the bold new brand we have created and believe it will help us develop a truly iconic international service and attract new customers from the UK and abroad. The White Stag symbolises fresh adventures and coming change, which is what people can expect from the Caledonian Sleeper as it is transformed over the coming years.
"The new Caledonian Sleeper service will provide a great alternative to other rail options and flying for UK travel. 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."Read more
Customers will start seeing an improved service soon after the 1 April, with new menus, soft furnishings and comforts. In 2018 a new fleet will launch, with a range of new features, including ensuite berths, Pod flatbeds and a brasserie-style Club Car. Over £100m is being invested in the new fleet which is part funded by a £60m capital grant from Scottish Ministers and will be built by leading rolling stock manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF).
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: "The Caledonian Sleeper is a cherished icon of Scotland's railways and it is fitting that a contemporary image of the Scottish stag is chosen to be the new emblem as this service embarks upon a transformation for the future.
"Existing passengers and newcomers to the Sleeper experience can now book up to enjoy all that the new service will have to offer when it launches in the Spring. I am excited to see how the service will develop and how that will continue to benefit Scotland in the form of additional tourism, business travel and inward investment as well as fun holiday opportunities."
For more information about the Caledonian Sleeper visit sleeper.scot