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Caledonian Sleeper pushes ahead with contentious cabin-sharing ban

Caledonian Sleeper plans to introduce a controversial new ban on strangers sharing carriages once it brings in its £100m new fleet in October.

Initially, the company had intended to bring in the policy this month, but a spokesperson confirmed they would be pushing it back towards the end of the year.

It means that if two passengers are strangers they will no longer be able to share sleeper cabins, and single passengers will instead have to purchase a ticket for their own cabin.

The change is expected to mean that fares for people travelling alone will nearly double from around £85 to as much as £140.

There were also plans to stop passengers who are travelling together from using railcards to book shared carriages.

However, the operator, Serco, says this has also been postponed and claimed that the new pricing structure for passengers sharing without a railcard would be cheaper than the current system with a discount.

Iain Baxter, Serco’s marketing director at Caledonian Sleeper, said: “Once introduced, our new trains fares structure will result in the removal of the ability to share accommodation with a stranger in Standard Class.

“Originally, we were intending to cease offering these fares in February but now that we have a confirmed date of October for the introduction of the new trains (on our Lowland routes) we are able to reinstate existing fares until the new trains are running. Use of railcards will also remain unchanged prior to this date.”

Caledonian Sleeper’s new fleet arrived in the UK earlier this month, with the first of its 75 carriages beginning testing just outside of Glasgow.

The operator says these will be the first new sleeper trains introduced in the UK for 35 years. They are being constructed by CAF in Spain at a cost of over £100m, partly funded by a £60m capital grant from the Scottish Government.

Top image: Caledonian Sleeper

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King's Lynn   02/02/2018 at 11:31

Actually, that sounds like a good thing. Last thing I'd want is to have to share a bedroom with someone I'd only met moments before.

Steve B Collins   02/02/2018 at 12:26

RE: "Last thing I'd want is to have to share a bedroom with someone I'd only met moments before." Unless you're a member of the Presidents' Club.

Mark Hare   02/02/2018 at 12:39

The current system has worked just fine for years. It's not like you're actually sharing a bed! I've shared a cabin plenty of times on the Sleepers. People just keep themselves to themselves and there's never been a problem.

Frankh   02/02/2018 at 13:22

People have paid £85 knowing they might be sharing a cabin with a stranger so apart from this being a money maker for serco what other reason is there? According to the article this only applies to standard class, what makes first class passengers exempt from this profiteering exercise?

Hedonism Bot   02/02/2018 at 15:07

Frankh, First Class passengers don't share!

King's Lynn   02/02/2018 at 16:22 don't think that the whole sharing thing might be massively off-putting to loads of people these days? I would suspect that more people would choose to use the service now that having some random person bunked down with you. It's not the SS Great Britain.

King's Lynn   02/02/2018 at 16:25

[edit] "now that having some random person bunked down with you has been stopped"

Iain   02/02/2018 at 19:44

So what they're really saying is that anyone travelling alone must travel first class but without the perks. But couples will get standard class fares at an attractive rate. So it might end up cheaper to book for you and a partner who on the day had to change their plans... Still going by a recent journey plan the STD sleeper fare is nearly the first one anyway and both east and west coasts had cheaper first class fares and more convenient timings.

Chris   05/02/2018 at 10:42

This is such disappointing news. I take the Cally Sleeper for work every few months and have never had any issues sharing with a stranger. In fact I've met some really interesting people and made great business contacts. Being forced to take a single cabin will make it unaffordable for me. Profile over service, sadly.

Foaming Stoat   05/02/2018 at 16:56

I wouldn't fancy paying an STD fare, that does sound like an unwanted consequence of sharing with a stranger!

Jerry Alderson   06/02/2018 at 17:57

In this age of mobile apps and websites there is nothing to stop someone from advertising for a compartment-sharing buddy to join them and split the fare. That puts the responsibility on the two individuals to make sure they are happy sharing, rather than a risk to the TOC. Rather than Tinder it's CalSlinder.

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