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Brand new Caledonian Sleeper trains from 2018 Published: Friday, 13 February 2015 10:02

Serco’s plans are well underway to transform the iconic Caledonian Sleeper service into an outstanding hospitality service that is emblematic of the best of Scotland.  Work to build 75-new coaches for the Caledonian Sleeper will soon get underway after Serco agreed signed key contracts to manufacture 75 new Sleeper coaches.  Serco signed contracts with Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) for the manufacturing of the new fleet and Alstom UK for maintenance of the coaches.

The fleet of 75 new coaches will be built and manufactured by CAF for the Caledonian Sleeper service for introduction into service in April 2018.  These are being leased by the specialist rail asset financing arm of Lombard, part of The Royal Bank of Scotland, and is supported by additional funding provided by the Scottish Ministers.  CAF will continue to support the new fleet with a contract to supply and manage spares whilst the coaches will be maintained by Alstom.

The new coaches will offer four innovative ways to travel in comfort on the Sleeper service; Cradle Seats, Pod Flatbeds, Berths and En-Suite Berths, and will include a Brasserie style Club Car for dining. Edinburgh-based designer Ian Smith is responsible for creating a ‘contemporary’ style for the new coaches.

The Cradle Seats will provide an improved seated experience with reclining seats and footrests. The Pod Flatbeds will fully recline from a seat into a bed and offer a privacy screen and a reading light.  The Berths ensure privacy and personal security as well as all the facilities the modern traveller needs.  The En-Suite Berths are also available and provide en-suite toilet and shower facilities.

The maintenance of the 75 new coaches will be undertaken by Alstom under a 15-year service contract.  Alstom has been providing maintenance services for the Caledonian Sleeper trains for more than a decade. During the first three years, Alstom will carry out preventive and corrective maintenance work on the existing Sleeper coaches, ensuring that the coaches continue to function to their highest potential. From 2018, Alstom will maintain the new fleet for the remaining 12 years of the contract. The maintenance will be carried out at Alstom’s Polmadie (Glasgow) and Wembley (London) traincare centres with daily servicing to be carried out at Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness.  Planned overhauls will continue at the Inverness depot.

Serco will begin running the improved service from 1 April 2015.  Peter Strachan, Serco’s Managing Director for the new Caledonian Sleeper said, “This is a major milestone in our plans to deliver an innovative new Caledonian Sleeper service.  I’m absolutely delighted we have signed contracts with our partners and look forward to delivering an improved service from 1st April 2015 and from 2018 when we introduce the innovative new coaches into service.

The new Caledonian Sleeper service will provide a great alternative to other rail and air travel between London and Scotland.  After a relaxing night on board, sleeping while on the move, our guests will arrive at their destination first thing in the morning refreshed and ready to go.”

Other plans to transform the Caledonian Sleeper service into an outstanding hospitality offering that is emblematic of the best of Scotland are well underway.  This includes all aspects of the operation of the Caledonian Sleeper franchise; marketing, sales, hospitality service on the trains, vehicle maintenance and the provision of facilities at stations for guests.

The new branding and online booking system were both launched last month, marking the first in a series of improvements that Serco has begun to deliver for the iconic Sleeper service. Sleeper.scot allows customers to book the overnight Sleeper services up to 12 months in advance of their travel date - a first for any UK rail operator.

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact: media@sleeper.scot

Notes to Editors:

  1. For anyone wishing to book the Sleeper service for travel before 31st March, bookings are being taken as normal at ScotRail.co.uk/sleeper
  2. The 15-year franchise begins in April 2015 and will see Serco manage all aspects of the Sleeper service including marketing, sales, the on-train hospitality service, vehicle maintenance and the provision of facilities at stations for Sleeper passengers.
  3. The franchise has been split from the main ScotRail franchise to meet Transport Scotland’s vision of transforming the Sleeper service into a truly emblematic and guest focused service for passengers travelling between Scotland and England.
  4. Around 270,000 journeys were made on the Sleeper service in the last full year. 
  5. The current ScotRail franchise, including operation of the Caledonian Sleeper, was awarded to FirstGroup plc, operating as First ScotRail Limited, in August 2004 and continues until March 2015.
  6. Serco is already one of Scotland’s largest employers with 3,000 employees working to provide a range of services, including: NorthLink Ferries connecting the Scottish mainland to the Shetland Islands and Orkney islands; the management of Scatsta Airport; facilities management at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and Wishaw hospital; Customer Service Contract centres in Glasgow, Fort William and the provision of ICT and property services for Glasgow City Council (ACCESS).

Serco’s transport business

Serco delivers innovative transport solutions, whether by air, road, water or rail, to public transport authorities, government departments and commercial enterprises around the world.

Our focus on operational efficiencies and improving sustainability support our customers in meeting their strategic aims and objectives.  Serco's experience in providing a wide range of multi-modal transport solutions in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America enables us to tailor our services to meet the needs of a diverse travelling public.  Our aim is to ensure that by delivering high-quality services, we can make a difference to people's journeys and lives.

Serco has a successful track record and compelling offer in both the UK and global light and heavy rail markets.  We operate Northern Rail, the UK's largest passenger rail franchise, as well as Merseyrail with our joint venture partner Abellio.

Serco also operates NorthLink Ferries on behalf of the Scottish Government. The lifeline ferry service links the Orkney Islands and Shetland islands with the UK mainland. Since 2012, Serco has refurbished the three passenger vessels and improved the services with innovative Sleeping Pods, new showering facilities, refreshed menus using more local produce, and better onward public transport connections. Serco has also invested in a marketing campaign, including partnerships with Visit Scotland and local promotion bodies. Serco created a bold new brand for the service that is designed to excite tourists by using the Viking heritage of the Northern Isles. 

Since April 2014, Serco, together with its 50:50 Swedish joint venture (JV) partner Strömma Tourism & Maritime, has operated one of Stockholm harbour’s key ferry services on behalf of Stockholm County Council and public ferry company, Waxholms Ångfartygs AB (WÅAB).

In the Middle East we have been operating the driverless Dubai Metro system since its inception 2008 and have recently secured a five year extension to 2019. Serco also operates the iconic Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme in London on behalf of Transport for London (TfL) and the innovative scheme has seen over 26 million hires and been expanded across the city.

In the USA, Serco provides a bus transportation service to and from Washington Dulles International Airport for the US National Conservation Training Centre. 

Serco is the only significant non-government provider of air traffic services in the world.  We operate on a global basis and handle about six million aircraft movements each year at airports in Europe, the Middle East and North America on behalf of customers including the UK’s Ministry of Defence, the US Federal Aviation Administration and the United Arab Emirates’ Area Control Centre in Abu Dhabi.

Serco also recently secured a major US contract to integrate and operate the state of Virginia’s five transport operation centres and the contract to operate the Dubai Tramway system.