Caledonian Sleeper Franchise Update June 2023

Caledonian Sleeper moves into Scottish Government ownership

Caledonian Sleeper services will be provided within Scottish Government ownership from today, Sunday 25 June 2023.

This new arrangement replaces the previous Caledonian Sleeper franchise, operated by Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited.

This is a result of the Scottish Government’s decision to run Caledonian Sleeper services, from the expiry of the current franchise, through an arm’s length company owned and controlled by the Scottish Government, in line with its Operator of Last Resort Duty.

Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop said:

“Today sees the start of a new era for the Caledonian Sleeper as the services come into public ownership, in line with our Operator of Last Resort duty.

“The decision to mobilise Operator of Last resort arrangements, announced to Parliament earlier this year, followed an extensive review and consideration of the options available to provide Caledonian Sleeper services beyond June this year, when the current franchise expires. This review was conducted against the background of substantial uncertainty regarding future market conditions and the pace and impact of the UK Government’s rail reform process.

“It is fitting that we recognise the successes of the staff and management at the Caledonian Sleeper who have transformed this service, and who will remain as valued members of the team. I give my reassurances that there is a continued role for them to play in the future success of the service.

“In recent years, the Caledonian Sleeper has flourished, with increasing numbers of people using its unique journey opportunities. The service plays an important role in showcasing the best of Scotland and I look forward to building on that success in the years to come.”

FAQs

What is happening on 25th June?

From 25th June 2023, Caledonian Sleeper services will be provided by an arm’s length company, Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH) which is wholly owned and controlled by the Scottish Government.

Why is this happening?

In October 2022, having reviewed the operation of rail franchises in Scotland, the Scottish Government decided to terminate the Caledonian Sleeper Franchise Agreement with Serco. Earlier this year, the Scottish Government decided that Caledonian Sleeper services should instead be provided by the Scottish Government, this transfer will officially take place on 25th June 2023.

Is this the end of Caledonian Sleeper services?

No, Caledonian Sleeper services will continue as normal after 25th June. The only difference is that the service will be governed, managed and operated by a public operator (Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH) instead of Serco.

What will the new company be called?

The new Sleeper company will be known as Caledonian Sleeper Limited.

Will there be a new registered office?

There are no plans to change our registered head office, Inverness will continue to be the registered head office for the company.

What plans do Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH) have for Sleeper services when it takes over from Serco?

Caledonian Sleeper will continue to operate as it does now with reservations available for up to 12 months in advance. Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH) will be focused on maintaining our current high standards of service through the transition. In due course, the Scottish Government Ministers and Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH), in partnership with Caledonian Sleeper Limited, will set out their aspirations for Caledonian Sleeper’s evolution.

Will Caledonian Sleeper be merged back into ScotRail?

Caledonian Sleeper will operate as a separate business, as part of Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH).

Can I make a booking for travel after 25th June?

Yes, absolutely. Caledonian Sleeper services will not be affected by the change on 25th June, and you can plan your journey and make reservations as normal. Our booking window is up to 12 months in advance of travel.

Will existing bookings be affected by this change?

There will be no impact to your booking and your reservation remains valid. The Caledonian Sleeper services continue as normal regardless of the change in operator.

Is my ticket still valid after the 25th of June?

Yes, absolutely. The Caledonian Sleeper services continue as normal regardless of the change in operator.

As my plans have changed, can I have a refund? Does the same cancellation policy remain after 25th June?

There will be no change to the cancellation policy on 25th June. Refunds are still available and they remain subject to our standard ticket terms and conditions.

Will your current staff remain?

Our staff are protected by TUPE regulations and will transfer across to the new public operator effective 25th June. This includes the Senior Management Team of Caledonian Sleeper.

Will there be any change to pricing?

There are no plans to change ticket prices.

If your prices are reduced, will I get a refund?

There are no plans to change ticket prices.

Will you be reintroducing bargain berths?

There are no plans to change the current product offering or ticket pricing.

Will there be any changes to onboard services?

Our onboard crew will continue to deliver the high standards of service for which they are known. You can expect the service to look and feel exactly the same as it did before the transition.

Will the ban on alcohol currently in place on Scotrail services apply to the Sleeper service?

Our onboard offering includes the option of selected alcoholic beverages. There will be no change to this part of our service offering.

Are there plans to change the onboard menu?

There are no plans to change the service offering, including our menu, at this time.

Will there be a review of suppliers as a consequence of the transition?

There are no plans to alter any aspect of the service at the time of the transition and our current list of suppliers remains unchanged.

 

 

We’ve made improvements to our website

We’ve improved our booking engine to make it easier for you to book a unique way to travel. Below are a list of some of the new features we’ve added to our website.

New booking widget

We’ve made it easier for you to select all the booking options available, including children, adding a railcard, adding a bike, or pet to your journey.

Book larger groups

You can now book groups of up to 8 people in a single transaction.

Accommodation selection

We now have a list of features available at a glance for our accommodation options. You can also see when our scheduled boarding and arrival times are too!

We’ve added accessible booking options

For the first time we can offer guests with accessible needs the opportunity to book online.

In the accommodation selection section if you check the accessible options button (shown below) you can toggle the view for our accessible rooms.

Picture of accessible options button

This will show our three options for accessible travel – Accessible Double, Accessible Twin and the Seat and Wheelchair space in our seated coach.

We’ve added month view

Now you can check availability on a calendar, allowing you to check availability and price differences around your selected date.

You can access the calendar view by clicking on the “show more dates button” shown below:

Picture of view more dates button

This will give you an overview with prices available for the whole month around your selected dates including availability and pricing as shown below:

Picture of calendar view

We’ve improved our room and seat picker

When you have selected your accommodation type and added your guest details, on our review page (shown below) you have the options to select your room on the train (subject to availability).

Review page

On this page click on the change room button (shown below)

Picture of change rooms button

This will take you to our room picker page (shown below)

Picture of room picker

If you click on the “edit” button on the right hand side (circled in red in the image below) you will open the room/seat picker.

Room picker with Edit button circled

You can then select the room of your choice (subject to availability).

Picture of room picker room selection tool

When you have selected your room you will see a message saying “changed successfully” as shown below:

Picture of changed successfully button

You can then select the “save selection” option (button shown below) to confirm your selection..

Picture of save your selection button

You will then be able to review your whole order before making payment.

Watch our video of how to use seat picker below:

From Scotland to London

London is one of the world’s great cities and offers so much whether you’re looking for museums, historical sites, theatre and so much more! We have a blog on things to do in London in 2023 you’ll find here for some destination inspiration.

Our services have their terminating stations at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen but we serve many more destinations across 11 council areas in Scotland, so you’re never too far from one of our services to London.

We’ve split up our services by council area, so you have an easy, at a glance guide to the stations we serve in your area.

Aberdeenshire

Picture of Stonehaven Harbour

With only one stop in Aberdeenshire, our Aberdeen service calls at Stonehaven.

Angus

Picture of Arbroath Abbey

Continuing south, our Aberdeen service serves the Angus council area at Carnoustie, Arbroath & Montrose.

Argyll & Bute

Tarbet

For people who live in Argyll and Bute we serve Helensburgh Upper, Garelochhead, Arrochar and Tarbet, Bridge of Orchy and Ardlui on our Fort William service.

Dundee

Dundee

For Dundonians, our Aberdeen service calls at Dundee.

Falkirk

Falkirk

Our Inverness route’s furthest south stop in Scotland is Falkirk Grahamston.

Fife

Aerial shot of Kirkcaldy

Fifers can join our Aberdeen service at Leuchars, Kirkcaldy and Inverkeithing.

Highland

Picture of Corrour Station

For people who live in the Highland council area our Fort William services call at Corrour, Tulloch, Roybridge and Spean Bridge. Highlanders can also catch our southbound Inverness services at Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie , Aviemore and Carrbridge.

North Lanarkshire

Aerial image of Motherwell

Our Glasgow service calls at North Lanarkshire at Motherwell.

Perth & Kinross

Picture of Dunkeld

Perth and Kinross is served by two of our services. Our Fort William service calls at Rannoch and our Inverness service calls at Gleneagles, Perth, Dunkeld and Birnam, Pitlochry and Blair Atholl.

Stirling

Dunblane Cathedral and River Allan

For people living in the Stirling council area, our Fort William services call at Crianlarich & Tyndrum.  Inverness service calls at Stirling & Dunblane.

West Dunbartonshire

Dumbarton rock

Our Fort William service calls at West Dunbartonshire at Dalmuir and Dumbarton Central.

 

See More of Scotland

Scotland’s scenery is world renowned and although we serve 43 destinations there are some places we can’t take you, so if you want to see more of our dramatic landscape we have some trip ideas for walkers, cyclists and drivers to see even more of our beautiful country.

West Highland Way

Glasgow – Fort William

Buachaille Etive Mor and West Highland Way sign in Scotland

One of Scotland’s most famous trails, the West Highland way is a favourite of both walkers and cyclists. Spanning 96 miles from Milngavie, just north of Glasgow, to Fort William, the route is normally completed from South to North, easing people in from the less strenuous stages near Glasgow to the more highly elevated stages near Fort William, which reach up to over 500m.

Great Glen Way

Inverness – Fort William

Hiker on the "Great Glen Way" in Scotland, with Scottish highlands and loch in the distance

Starting in Inverness and ending in Fort William, the Great Glen Way stretches across 78 miles, following Scotland’s greatest geological fault line and follows sections of the Caledonian Canal, including Neptune’s staircase – a series of 8 locks. The route takes in Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy and is accessible by foot, by bike or by boat. The route can be walked in 4-7 days and is a favourite of wildlife watchers with Golden Eagles, Ospreys, Pine Martens and Deer all spotted on the way.

East Highland Way

Aviemore – Fort William

Loch Laggan, aerial view, colour. Scotland

Devised by Kevin Langan in 2007, the East Highland Way links Aviemore with Fort William across 82 miles. The going on this trail is tougher than the West Highland Way or the Great Glen Way and is suitable for the more seasoned walker. Only some of the trail is marked and large sections follow forestry tracks, so good navigation skills are required.  The East Highland Way takes in a variety of woodland, with open sections where you can enjoy highland views, the picturesque beaches of Loch Laggan and the open moors of Strath an Eilich.

North Coast 500

Inverness – Fort William

Achmelvic Beach

For those who prefer to take in their scenery from the comfort of a vehicle rather than walking, the NC500 offers 500 miles of stunning scenery around Scotland’s north coast. Starting in Inverness, the route stretches across six regions as far as John O’Groats and Durness in the North and as far as Applecross on the west coast. The NC500 route is a loop which can be started and finished in Inverness, but if you want to see a bit more of Scotland then you could take a one-way car hire and start in Inverness, take the NC500 route westwards and travel over the sea (now by bridge) to Skye. From there you can head towards Fort William and rejoin the Caledonian Sleeper to head back south.

Family activity packs for our youngest guests

Our youngest guests can now make the most of their time with us with our free family activity pack!

Our family activity pack contains:

  • A Caledonian Sleeper reusable kit bag for keeping everything together
  • A Caledonian Sleeper reusable water bottle for keeping hydrated
  • A Caledonian Sleeper games kit

The games kit includes a “rails and Nessie” snakes and ladders game with a pop out die and pop out playing pieces, a spot the difference, a joke and riddle, some fascinating facts and a Loch Ness Slippery Search.

The family activity pack is available to every guest travelling with a child’s ticket and our on board hosts will give out packs to all eligible guests during your journey.

Win a trip to London with ARRAN Sense of Scotland!

To help celebrate the mother figures in our lives we have partnered with ARRAN Sense of Scotland to offer you the chance to win a fantastic trip to London!

Travelling by Caledonian Sleeper, the lucky winner will be based in the UK’s capital – London, enjoying an overnight stay for two in a hotel in Central London and afternoon tea for two. Experience one of the world’s most mesmerizing cities. Marvel at modern architectural delights like the Shard and the Gherkin, soak up some of the world’s most iconic locations, shop till you drop, enjoy fantastic restaurants, or simply relax and unwind with a trip to the theatre.

Arran sense of Scotland hamper

One lucky winner will win:

  • Return Train tickets for 2 adults from any starting destination along the Caledonian Sleeper route
  • 1 night’s bed and breakfast at a central London hotel
  • Afternoon tea for two
  • Tickets for two for the Pretty Woman musical at The Savoy Theatre
  • A hamper of Arran products

There are also three runners up prizes of ARRAN Sense of Scotland hampers worth £250!

The competition runs from 6th – 17th March 2023 and the lucky winner will be announced on our social channels.

To enter, simply head over to ARRAN Sense of Scotland’s website and enter you details. Good Luck!

ENTER NOW HERE!

Terms and conditions apply.