Latest Rail News

23.03.15

Serco launches new Caledonian Sleeper livery

The new operator of the Caledonian Sleeper franchise, Serco, unveiled the new look of the service at an event in Inverness today.

Serco is set to take over the franchise on 1 April when Caledonian Sleeper splits from ScotRail, which itself will be handed over to Abellio from FirstGroup on the same day.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the new-look trains, which features the White Stag branding first seen when the Sleeper.Scot website was launched.

Sturgeon said: “When the Scottish government set the specification for the refranchising of the Caledonian Sleeper service, we were clear that it had to become so much more than a commuter rail trip for those travelling between Scotland and London.

“We knew that the routes through Scotland already offered a spectacular backdrop, but we wanted to see the journey become a destination in itself and take a larger tourism role in promoting Scotland.

“Serco’s plans promise to bring all of this, as well as provide benefits for the small and medium-sized Scottish businesses up and down the country who will be involved in supplying the new service. Their commitment to qualification-level training for staff and investment in the service for the next 15 years is also to be welcomed.

“A £150m fleet of new Sleeper trains arrive in 2018, and passengers can begin to enjoy the new catering offering that will showcase the best of Scottish food and drink as soon as the new franchisee takes over the service from next week.”

0322 Nicola Sturgeon and Rupert Soames

The contracts for the build of the 75 new carriages, making up four new trains, were signed with manufacturer CAF last month and the design process is underway. They will offer four 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.

Serco also awarded a new 15-year service contract worth €125m to Alstom to maintain the Caledonian Sleeper fleet, both the existing Mark 2 and 3 stock and the new CAF fleet when it comes in. RTM’s interview with Alstom’s Rob Whyte about the maintenance contract is here.

Rupert Soames, Serco Group CEO, said: “Today marks a new start for the Sleeper service, which we believe has huge potential. As a regular user of the service, I know that for business and pleasure it is both an efficient and an enjoyable way of travelling between London and Scotland, allowing you to have whole day’s extra work or play on each return visit.”

“Serco is well on the way to transforming the Sleeper into a superb service using our expertise of delivering high quality transport services around the world.  From the 31 March our guests will see the service get better and better, with a new booking website, branding, uniforms and a menu that showcases the best in Scottish food and drink.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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