Rail franchises operators & contracts

23.01.19

Delayed new Caledonian Sleeper trains complete first test to London in ‘exciting landmark’

New Caledonian Sleeper carriages have made their first test run from Scotland to London Euston ahead of the £100m fleet’s delayed launch in May this year.

The carriages will include en-suite bathrooms and double beds, operating between London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh – but were originally due to be introduced in October 2018.

Rail operator Serco cited “time consuming and complex” processes for testing and gaining regulatory and operating approvals as the reason for pushing the launch back until May 2019, especially as this is the first introduction of new sleeper rolling stock in the UK for over 35 years.

Now, as testing gathers pace, 16 carriages have made the trip from Scotland to London in a trial run which Serco called “a significant milestone in the testing phase.”

New Sleeper carriages at Euston (3) (002)

The 75-carriage fleet cost over £100m to build, part funded by a £60m capital grant from Scottish ministers, and is designed to cater to both business and leisure travel guests.

Other new features will include a hotel-style key card entry system, more accessible rooms, charging panels, and WiFi throughout the train.

380 Club Car, Caledonian Sleeper

Ryan Flaherty, Secro’s managing director at Caledonian Sleeper, said that the overnight sleeper train services will undergo a “huge transformation” in 2019 and that they had entered the final stages of testing and approvals.

He commented: “Bringing our new carriages into London Euston for the first time is an exciting landmark for the team, and we cannot wait until they are arriving and departing from the station six nights a week.”

The trains will be introduced initially on the Lowlander route between Glasgow/Edinburgh and London before being rolled out onto the Highlander which serves Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness.

The first carriages arrived in January 2018 after leaving the testing centre in the Czech Republic, and testing in the UK began in April.

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