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29.04.19

Caledonian Sleeper launches new £150m train fleet, first service over three hours late

Caledonian Sleeper has officially launched its new £150m fleet of trains, with the new carriages making their debut overnight on Sunday between London and Glasgow/Edinburgh, but the first service arrived three hours and 20 minutes late.

Designed to accommodate the modern-day traveller, the new-look trains offer en-suite toilets, wet rooms and double beds, with operator Serco labelling the day a “huge moment for everyone involved in making this dream a reality.”

Following its late launch on the ‘Lowlander service’, the new fleet will now be introduced on the ‘Highlander route’ between London and Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William in the coming weeks, with 75 new carriages to begin operating at the end of May.

The first service ran from Glasgow on Sunday night but arrived in London three hours and 20 minutes late, with the north-bound service also heavily behind schedule due to signalling problems as well as a mix up with bookings.

The trains were originally due to enter service in April 2018, and Serco’s managing director for the Caledonian Sleeper Ryan Flaherty said that whilst the new trains had been years in the making, he was looking forward to passengers “having a magical journey” with the sleeper service.

He said: “The overriding ambition has been to deliver on our vision of a Caledonian Sleeper service fit for today’s traveller, one that combines the modern facilities people expect with that feeling of nostalgia that comes from long-distance railway travel.”

The company said overnight accommodation on the CAF trains start from £45 for comfort seats, £140 for solo rooms and up to £400 for the most expensive rooms.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, said the Scottish Government was proud to have played a part in the launch after investing £50m in the new fleet via a capital grant.

He commented: “The scale of change is remarkable, and a credit to everyone who has worked on this project.

“Caledonian Sleeper shows the best of railways, and the best of Scotland. It’s time for this franchise to shine, and to be a real source of pride for the people of Scotland.”

Rupert Soames, chief executive of Serco, added that it had been an “incredibly complex project” but that this was a “proud and exciting moment for everyone involved.”

 

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