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First new Caledonian Sleeper rolling stock arrives at Velim test track

New rolling stock for Caledonian Sleeper services have reached a milestone today as operator Serco said that the trains have arrived at a test track in the Czech Republic to undergo key testing for a number of weeks.

The first of the 75 Mk 5 trains, a five-carriage train split into two seated, one Club and two sleeper carriages, was dispatched earlier this month from manufacturer CAF’s factory in Beasain, northern Spain, before being transported by road to Hendaye station in France, where they started their rail transit to the Czech Republic.

The dynamic testing will start in the near future, and once complete the carriages will be moved to Glasgow, with the UK test programme expected to start before the end of the year.


“It’s great to see the first of the new carriages on the move,” said Peter Strachan, Serco’s chairman, UK Rail. “To design, build and introduce a new fleet of rail sleeper coaches is extremely challenging and complex.

“Achieving this milestone is entirely due to the professionalism of the Serco team and everyone involved across the rail industry,” he added.

“We still have a lot of work to do to successfully bring the new sleeper fleet into service next year, but I am really excited about the quality of experience we will be able to offer our guests when it arrives.”

Serco were awarded the Caledonian Sleeper contract back in 2014, with the project being backed by £100m funding, of which £60m is coming from the Scottish government.

The new rolling stock will boast a number of features to improve the comfort on the luxury service, including reclining seats, berths, ensuite berths and ensuite double rooms for couples.

Other new additions include hotel-style key cards, phone and gadget charging facilities and on-board wi-fi. The trains are expected to be rolled out to customers in 2018.

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Andrew Gwilt   24/08/2017 at 23:35

Could more of these new Mk5a carriages to be built and manufactured to replace the current Mk3's and Mk4's that are currently being used with Class 66's, Class 43's and Class 91's Intercity locomotives that are used on Crosscountry, East Midlands Trains, Grand Central, Arriva Trains Wales and soon to be used on Scotrail. As new Hitachi Class 800's, Class 801's and Class 802's IET's that are to replace the Class HST's, Class 91's and Mk3's and Mk4's carriages that are used on the GWML and ECML. Aswell Class 91's+Mk3 carriages used on London-Norwich Intercity service that Bombardier Class 720's Aventra EMU's will be replacing them as Greater Anglia have order new trains.

Lewis   25/08/2017 at 00:33

Andrew Gwilt, I thought no you'll find your comment inaccurate, class 66s don't pull any carriages given there freight locomotives. Aswell, the Class HSTs are class 43s. On top of this they use class 90's not 91's on London to Norwich services.

Andrew Gwilt   25/08/2017 at 09:38

Fair point Lewis. Glad you corrected that as I made a mistake.

Mark Hare   25/08/2017 at 13:17

@Andrew Gwilt - the usual comment from you which bears no relation to the article and just lists random train types and TOCs. This article is about the new vehicles for Caledonian Sleeper services. Do you have anything to say about the article itself? If all you can do is speculate what might happen in the future it would be more interesting to try to predict what, if anything will happen with the existing Mk 3 sleeper fleet used on these trains. Will they be sold abroad? Can they be re-engineered for daytime use? The Mk 3 design is a good one - surely it's too soon for these vehicles to go for scrap?

Shaun Mcdonald   25/08/2017 at 14:27

Once problem with the current Mk3 design is the slam doors, which won't be allowed in a few years (2020 if I remember right). This is why the Mk3 slam doors on the HSTs that are going to Scotrail are having their doors re-fitted. This will mean a much bigger refit to be used in the UK, and part of the reason that they are being replaced.

Andrew Cawood   25/08/2017 at 14:42

The mark 3 sleepers may go for scrap although some may be used for the proposed Far North Sleeper planned from Edinburgh to Thurso.You cannot convert these sleepers to day coaches GNER tried it with 10661

Simon Eames1990   25/08/2017 at 19:40

One day maybe Caledonian Sleeper could use the ECML permanently as it's far more straighter than the WCML. Bi-mode Class 88 locos should be put to good use as well.

Andrew Gwilt   25/08/2017 at 21:50

@Mark Hare. Ok I do speculate but sometimes I do get things right. Or I would say-"Shut up and ignore on what I said".

Andrew JG   27/08/2017 at 00:14

Was thinking if these new Mk5's & Mk5a carriages could be built for East Midlands Trains, Crosscountry, Arriva Trains Wales and Scotrail to replace the Mk3's and Mk4's carriages that have slam doors. Or use the Mk4 carriages that are used on the East Coast Main Line to be used on Crosscountry, East Midlands Trains and or Scotrail as the Class 800's and Class 801's are to replace the older Virgin Trains East Coast rolling stocks.

Mark Hare   28/08/2017 at 10:55

@Simon Eames1990 - You may recall sleeper trains used to use the ECML until 1988. King's Cross does not have long enough platforms to accommodate the Highland Sleeper at 16 vehicles so Euston is currently the only option unless you start using the North London Line and reversing at Wembley...

J, Leicester   29/08/2017 at 11:27

Andrew Gwilt, you're on a roll today! The Mk. 4 fleet is entirely plug-doored, hence why there is growing speculation that it will be cascaded elsewhere once the Azumas begin ECML operation. There are no "slam door Mk. 4s" as you put it. You don't have to list the same operator twice either - we already know you're referring to EMT, XC and ATW. I almost get the feeling there's a random word generator on the other side of the keyboard rather than an actual person, sometimes! Andrew Cawood, I wasn't aware of proposals for a Far North sleeper, but I would certainly use it in my leisure travels. Sprinters and food trolleys don't do the line to Thurso justice - it's every bit as scenic and adventurous as the WHL. I get the feeling that it's more likely that GWR will hoover up the Caledonian stock to boost their own sleeper fleet, however. I doubt they'll go for export - it seems logical while our domestic sleeper scene goes from strength to strength and falls out of favour on the continent that they'll stay in use in the UK. Perhaps there's even scope for use in the charter market? The nature of a day trip is often restrictive for railtour operators, so a cheaper "overnighter" option for those without the income to blow on the Royal Scotsman would probably be well received!

Andrew Gwilt   09/09/2017 at 01:42

@J, Leicester. So you think I'm the person who speculates no matter what I say even if I try to think of something that could be spot on. Oh get a life will you. I would want to say "Lalala Blah Blah". Because I don't care about you stupid opinions.

Steve   14/09/2017 at 17:58

It would be nice to have Mark 5 coaches for CrossCountry. Their online complaints service displays loads of complaints that their trains are too short and unsuited to such long distance services. Mark 5's with comfortable seating, bookable compartments for families (standard) and businesspeople (first), and proper luggage and catering facilities would be far better suited to some of the longest daytime journeys in the country. Continental Europeans have all the above.

Trackside   17/11/2017 at 02:30

Newer stock all seams fine and dandy but there seems to be little consideration to trackside noise.mk3&4 are doubtless quieter than the open undercarriage design similar to mk1and2 design which have greater rail and running noise. Appear to have smaller wheel which also adds to noise. Design appears to be going backward not forward with higher running noise.

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