Franchise Update

Today is has been announced that the Scottish Government have decided to appoint a public body to manage and operate Caledonian Sleeper, known as Scottish Rail Holdings (SRH).

This follows the announcement on 5 October 2022 of the Scottish Government’s decision to terminate Serco’s Franchise Agreement on 25 June 2023.

Over the coming months Serco will work closely with the Scottish Government to ensure a smooth and successful transition of the ongoing operations and management of Caledonian Sleeper to the new public body operator.

Caledonian Sleeper’s services will continue to operate as normal, and Guests will be able to experience the excellent service that our dedicated onboard teams are recognised for delivering.

If you have booked to travel with us or are thinking of travelling with us before or after the 25th June there will be no impact to your booking or our service.


Will my booking be affected by this announcement?

No. There will be no impact to your booking. The Caledonian Sleeper services continue as normal regardless of the operator

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

Yes, absolutely. The Caledonian Sleeper service continues as normal regardless of the operator.

Does the same cancellation policy remain after 25th June?

There will be no change to the cancellation policy.

Will your current staff remain?

Our staff are protected by TUPE regulations and will transfer across to the new public operator effective 25th June.

Is this the end of Caledonian Sleeper?

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

Will there be any change to pricing?

No. Our ticket prices remain the same.

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

There are no plans to change our ticket prices.

Will you be reintroducing bargain berths?

No. There are no plans to change our current product offering.

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.

Discover the North Coast 500 with Caledonian Sleeper

Caledonian Sleeper has entered into a partnership with North Coast 500, voted one of the world’s top coastal touring routes.

Bringing together more than 500 miles (516 miles, to be exact!) of stunning coastal scenery, the North Coast 500 (NC500) naturally follows the rugged coastal edges of the North Highlands – one of Scotland’s best-kept secrets.


NC500 logo


The NC500 is so much more than just a driving route; it’s all about the journey and the experiences you’ll enjoy along the way. With stunning coastal scenery, white sandy beaches, rugged mountains, remote fishing villages, hidden gems, and a wealth of unforgettable experiences, the NC500 is Scotland’s ultimate road trip, offering a truly unique touring experience quite unlike anywhere else in the world!


Achmelvic Beach


After waking up refreshed and ready to go in Inverness following an overnight journey with Caledonian Sleeper from London, easy onward travel links to the NC500 route encourage travellers to discover the clean air and breath-taking scenery of Inverness-shire, Easter Ross, Wester Ross, Caithness and Sutherland.


Ardvreck Castle


The NC500 route enjoys superb quality hotels, fine restaurants and year-round outdoor activities. There are golf courses, fairy-tale castles, distilleries and historic trails. The winter landscapes are a photographer’s dream, the wildlife abounds, and the dark skies offer some of the best stargazing as well as a chance to catch the Northern Lights. All giving visitors reasons to linger longer and enjoy the benefits of off-season travel. 


Craig Mills, Chief Operating Officer for NC500 said: 


“Our greatest attraction is the scenery of this unique part of the world – from rugged coastlines and remote beaches through to peat bogs and snow-capped mountains – and it takes on a different but no less beautiful character in the autumn and winter. By partnering with the Caledonian Sleeper, we want to encourage visitors to travel overnight and arrive fresh and ready to make the most of what we can offer in and around the NC500. 


“We are so much more than a road trip, and a mini-break that starts with stress-free travel to Scotland would set people up for a slower-paced holiday based in one of our glorious destinations. It is perhaps a new ‘sleeper season’.” 


When travelling with Caledonian Sleeper, guests can enjoy a hassle-free journey without security queues, long treks between the airport and city, nor excess baggage charges. Instead, they are transported from the heart of the city to destinations such as Inverness, the gateway to the NC500. 


Steven Marshall, Head of Sales and Marketing at Serco Caledonian Sleeper, said:


“The NC500 is a truly stunning coastal route and we’re proud to help open up this destination, allowing more people to experience its beauty.


“Our overnight rail service connects London with numerous destinations in Scotland, running both north and south across the border. It’s fantastic that we can give travellers the opportunity to experience all that Scotland has to offer, from vibrant cities to tranquil rural areas.”

Caledonian Sleeper Franchise Update

John Whitehurst, Managing Director of Serco’s Transport business, said: “When Serco took over the Caledonian Sleeper service in April 2015, we inherited an unreliable and outdated fleet of carriages dating back to the 1970s.

“We are extremely proud that under our leadership and management we have introduced new rolling stock and other significant innovations that have completely transformed the service. The service that Serco provides today is widely recognised as being outstanding, providing hotel standard service and accommodation that is renowned and admired around the world and loved by the people who travel on it.  We thank the Minister for her warm words recognising the achievements of the Serco Caledonian Sleeper team.

The contract that was signed in 2014 included a ‘rebase clause’ that meant that, after seven years of the 15-year Franchise, Serco could present to the Scottish Government alternative financial arrangements for the remaining years of the Franchise.  The Government and Serco were not able to reach agreement on these revised terms, and accordingly the Franchise will now end in June 2023, at which point, unless other arrangements can be agreed, Serco will hand back the management of the Sleeper to the Scottish Government.

“We note that the Government’s decision not to accept our proposals has not been made due to any performance issues; from Serco’s point of view the service has been loss-making over the life of the contract and the proposals that we made to Transport Scotland were to put it on a more sustainable financial footing.  We will continue to work with Transport Scotland around options for the future management of the service and in the meantime will continue to deliver a world-class service for our guests.”

Mackie’s on track with Caledonian Sleeper partnership

Caledonian Sleeper guests will be welcomed by a sweet treat from Mackie’s of Scotland following a newly-signed partnership.

From this month, the Aberdeenshire firm’s 35g chocolate bars will be included as a complimentary welcome gift as part of the Caledonian Sleeper in-room offering for guests booked in Caledonian Double Rooms and Club Rooms.

Caledonian Sleeper managing director Kathryn Darbandi with Mac Mackie, Managing Director of Mackie’s
Caledonian Sleeper managing director Kathryn Darbandi with Mac Mackie, Managing Director of Mackie’s

Mackie’s chocolate and crisps range will also feature in the on-board room service and Club Car menus, which showcase the best of Scottish produce.

The partnership brings together two organisations which are passionate about sustainability. Using the Caledonian Sleeper ensures up to 90%* less emissions than equivalent plane travel, making it one of the most environmentally friendly ways to make the journey between London and Scotland.

Caledonian Sleeper is also taking steps to improve the sustainability of its on-board operations, having committed to ensuring that no waste from the trains will be transferred to landfill, and instead waste is either recycled or recovered when the trains are cleaned after use.

Pioneers in renewable energy, Mackie’s renewably produces more than twice as much energy than it uses courtesy of its wind turbines, solar farm and biomass. This year sees the completion of its £4.5million low carbon refrigeration project – which could slash its CO2 emissions by up to 80%.

Mac Mackie, Managing Director at Mackie’s of Scotland, said: “The Caledonian Sleeper connects some of the UK’s best destinations and we’re delighted to be providing a taste of Scotland for passengers to enjoy along the way.

“As a family business, we’re used to investing in the future, to try and protect the environment for generations to come. This has been one the key drivers for the partnership – as well as the desire to expand our product’s accessibility.

“We’re looking forward to seeing our single serve bars ‘on tour’ across the UK, bringing a little lift in every bite.”

Kathryn Darbandi, Serco’s Managing Director for Caledonian Sleeper, said: “We’re proud to partner with Mackie’s, an iconic Scottish brand that shares our passion for sustainability, and we’re confident today marks the beginning of a long and popular partnership.

“We understand that our exciting food and drink menu, packed with the very best produce that Scotland has to offer, is a staple of the Caledonian Sleeper service. Guests are taken on a culinary tour of Scotland as we transport them to their destination in style, and we’re delighted to count Mackie’s as one of our valued partners.”

Caledonian Sleeper is an overnight rail service bringing you the flavours of Scotland and comfort as guests are transported both north and south between London and some of Scotland’s biggest cities and stunning rural destinations.

In 2014, Mackie’s of Scotland converted a tractor shed into a chocolate factory and began making a range of milk and dark chocolate bars – in flavours reminiscent of its ice cream range.

To find out more about Mackie’s, please visit:

Celebrating Pride Month

Throughout June, Pride month is a celebration of people coming together in love and friendship, to show how far LGBTQ+ rights have come.

At Caledonian Sleeper we are shining the spotlight on our LGBTQ+ Caledonian Sleeper colleagues David Bree (Sleeper Team Leader) and Dougie Bree (Sleeper Train Manager) who recently celebrated their marriage to talk about their journey, love and what pride means to them.

Can you tell us how you both met?

Both: We were both Cabin Managers at our previous flying jobs. So, it was work that brought us together.

You recently tied the knot. Tell us a bit more about the day and how it feels to be married now?

Both: We did. The 25 September 2021 was our big day where we wed at Glenskirlie Castle. We worked hard whenever we could to save up to have exactly what we wanted, and it all went perfect.

June is dedicated to celebrating the Pride movement and how far LBGTQ+ rights have come. What does Pride mean for you both?

Dougie: Pride for me is about acceptance. Being allowed to be who you are without prejudice.​​​​​​

Davie: Without pride we would not have made the progress we have, where we are mostly in a society where everyone is accepted. It is a remarkable time of the year to bring everyone together.

Above: Davie and Dougie on their wedding day in September last year.

How has it been to be part of the LGBTQ+ community at Caledonian Sleeper?

Dougie: Caledonian Sleeper have a great LGBTQ+ community spirit between all the staff and I think that’s great. It’s not just us within that community that celebrate and enjoy it which is brilliant for allowing people to be who they are.

Davie: Being part of Serco means you can be yourself it does not matter, gender, sexuality etc, you are invited to be you, acceptance is not a question you are accepted be who you wish to be, you will have support across the full board.​​​​​​​

What is the main reason LGBT+ people do not come out in the workplace?

Davie: Coming out in the workplace means feeling comfortable within yourself, not worrying about prejudice, acceptance or what people think. It’s about having the courage to live happily and be able to be yourself.

Dougie: I think people like to be a bit private, work is just work at the end of the day. I do think people are more accepting nowadays but I still think people might prefer to keep work and life separate.

If you were to give anyone struggling to be themselves openly one piece of advice, what would it be?

Dougie: Speak to likeminded people. I think it can be difficult and daunting at first, but it was the best move I made when I came out and was able to be myself and be accepted.

Davie: My advice to anyone struggling would be to look at where even I have come from to the happy life I now lead, and anyone can.​​​​​​​

What can organisation’s done to ensure LGBTQ+ community members feel included in the workplace?

Davie: Even to celebrate pride month and to have it mentioned will ensure that the LGBTQ+ community are recognised, and this really matters

Dougie: I think by talking about LGBTQ+, Pride events is a great way for community members to feel they matter and included and by exactly this… being asked to tell our story.

We have often heard the tag line of “love is love”. What does this mean to you both?

Dougie: ‘Love is Love’ for me is about someone meeting their soulmate, the person (no matter who they are) they chose to be partnered with or fall in love with.

Davie: Love is love – whether you are gay, straight, bisexual

Thank you to Davie and Dougie for sharing their story of love, acceptance and pride.

Caledonian Sleeper reduces services and amends refund policy due to COVID-19 outbreak

Caledonian Sleeper is introducing a special timetable from Sunday 22 March due to the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

The decision to reduce services has been taken in full cooperation with Transport Scotland and will allow Caledonian Sleeper to protect the service and staff while ensuring vital links remain in place.

Under the temporary timetable, the overnight rail operator will run an eight-carriage train from Glasgow Central and an eight-carriage train from Inverness. The two sections will join up at Edinburgh Waverley before making the journey southbound to London Euston.

Similarly, one 16-carriage train will leave London before splitting at Edinburgh to carry on the journey to Glasgow and Inverness respectively.

Services will not run between Fort William and London or Aberdeen and London while the special timetable is in place. Caledonian Sleeper’s refund policy is also being amended to reflect the special timetable.

Ryan Flaherty, Serco’s Managing Director for Caledonian Sleeper, said: “We are absolutely determined that we continue to provide vital services during this difficult period, while taking into account the welfare of guests, staff and industry partners.

“The reduced timetable will see trains run on both our Highland and Lowland lines, providing crucial links to London for those who need to travel. The decision, taken alongside Transport Scotland, will increase the resilience of Caledonian Sleeper and we look forward to returning to a full timetable in due course.”

Under the new timetable, trains will depart Inverness at 20:45 and Glasgow Central at 23:40 before joining at Edinburgh Waverley. Guests in Edinburgh can join the Glasgow portion of the train at 00:40.

Services from London Euston will depart at 21:15. Guests can disembark at Edinburgh Waverley prior to 06:00 before the trains carry on to Glasgow and Inverness.

All existing reservations with Caledonian Sleeper from 22 March until 30 May 2020 will be cancelled and refunded except for the Inverness route. Those due to travel to/from Inverness will be able to receive a refund should they choose not to travel.

Guests who still wish to travel on operating services from Glasgow and Edinburgh should re-book via where fares have been lowered to ensure that those requiring essential travel can access services.

Earlier this week, Caledonian Sleeper took the decision to close its Club Car on all trains. No catering services are currently being offered in the evening and the breakfast service is simply a standard in-room offering.

Station Lounges at Dundee, Fort Williams, Inverness, Perth and Stirling have also been closed.

Cleaning arrangements have been extensively reviewed, with Caledonian Sleeper implementing a more robust anti-bacterial treatment of hard surfaces and key touch points, including hand rails and door buttons.

Due to expected demand on the Guest Service Centre, guests are requested to email with enquiries to be processed as quickly as possible.