Caledonian Sleeper bidders named

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Mainliner

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I had my first sleeper experience recently and was very impressed. It was comfortable and I slept pretty well. The point about journey time is irrelevant - sleeping while travelling is actually an efficient use of time. I arrived feeling much fresher than after getting up at an obscene hour of the morning and dashing to an airport. For business travellers the price is not so critical if other factors are favourable.

If it's done right, I could see a revamped Caledonian sleeper being popular and successful. I wish it good luck!

Indeed - I'm looking forward to using it for the first time in October, when I need to be in Windsor by 9 am on a Monday morning. Even the earliest train from NCL on the Monday wouldn't get me there in time, not that I have the slightest desire to get up in the middle of the night for a train or plane either, so instead of going on the Sunday and booking a hotel, I'm going up to Edinburgh and catching the lowland sleeper, which will get me to London nicely in time.

Apart from the total cost being cheaper, I can leave NCL later on the Sunday than if I was going to London.
 
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MattRobinson

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Serco are also part owners of Northern, which has not been mentioned on this thread yet.

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LNW-GW Joint

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Serco is one of those firms that can do anything. They can bid for anything and then outsource or 'buy in' the labour. A real Jack of all trades firm, like Veolia and the rest.

Serco also operate traffic lights, the DLR, as well as pick up the rubbish from my house. I bet the company also has its fingers in loads of other pies.

They certainly do. Their scope is enormous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serco_Group
In rail they also bought part of BR Research at Derby at privatisation.
Not to be underestimated.
 

edwin_m

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They certainly do. Their scope is enormous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serco_Group
In rail they also bought part of BR Research at Derby at privatisation.
Not to be underestimated.

Serco bought Railtest, which was part of the BR Research organisation at one of the intevals between reorganisations in the preceding few years. But the main part of BR Research went to AEA Technology (which no longer exists).
 

Northerner

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Sleeper train improvements outlined
Last updated 16 Aug 2013 17:33 GMT

By David Miller

BBC Scotland transport correspondent


The new sleeper train franchise is expected to start in April next year
Rail companies competing for the Caledonian sleeper franchise have been told the service must be "emblematic of the best of Scotland".

The tender document outlines a series of improvements to be made on board.

They include the introduction of en suite lavatories in business class berths, new wi-fi facilities, and improved security.

Bidders have been asked to provide showers for all sleeper passengers at key stations.

They will also consider whether it would be practical to introduce on-board showers.

Transport minister, Keith Brown MSP, said: "The Scottish Government is reinforcing its commitment to the sleeper, and underlining this with investment in the rolling stock to transform the service, support for a fifteen year contract, and key improvements like wi-fi throughout the train with booster equipment to maximise signal strength.

"I believe the improved specification in the invitation to tender to be issued to bidders will secure a transformed future for the Caledonian Sleeper and deliver a new and enhanced service emblematic of the very best of Scotland."

Three firms are in the running to take over the operation of the Caledonian Sleeper service next summer.

Aberdeen-based First Group, which already runs the service, is facing competition from Arriva Night Trains and Serco.

The sleeper service connects Inverness, Fort William, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow with London.

BBC © 2013


My thoughts
• if serious improvements we're made to the quality of rolling stock, surely that would increase demand

On suite should be in every birth, it's not in anyway similar to the normal use of a toilet and a passenger train

I work on the railway so I don't expect some magic fairy to pay for all this, but it shouldn't cost too much,it only a handful of coaches!
 

jopsuk

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en-suite in every single berth would further lower the capacity of trains that already regularly fill up a couple of nights a week and that can only carry 26 passengers per carriage (standard)/13 passengers per carriage (first).
 

Essexman

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German sleepers with a few berths that have en suite toilets & showers, at extra cost, plus shower at end of coach for general use, seem to work well.
I think a range of facilities and prices is needed here too.
 

Eagle

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Highly unlikely; the current route is tried and tested (plus St Pancras and King's Cross are smaller than Euston, and may not have the capacity in the morning).
 

IanXC

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Highly unlikely; the current route is tried and tested (plus St Pancras and King's Cross are smaller than Euston, and may not have the capacity in the morning).

Although I don't think its beyond the realms of possibility after some services switch from Kings Cross to Thameslink, and during whatever form the HS2 rebuild of Euston takes.
 

jon0844

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I hope someone takes my idea of having first class with all the mod cons, while standard is set up more like first class on a plane (thus many more people can fit on, but with a fair degree of privacy). Standard class users would have shared toilets but still get a level of comfort that people pay many thousands for on a long haul flight.

The increase in passenger numbers by having this set up will hopefully make the trains pay for themselves.

The seats that turn into beds would also have power sockets, WiFi (free) and a screen that can be connected to your smart device, or access an onboard entertainment system. You could also call for service and perhaps receive certain complimentary items and toiletries for arrival.

The seated coach(es) would have nice seats, akin to premium economy. There would be no bog standard seats at all, but that could be an option too for those willing to slum it and save a packet (e.g students)
 
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After I first saw this on The Railway Centre a few years back, I always thought that this might be nice on the Sleepers :)
 

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edwin_m

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I hope someone takes my idea of having first class with all the mod cons, while standard is set up more like first class on a plane (thus many more people can fit on, but with a fair degree of privacy). Standard class users would have shared toilets but still get a level of comfort that people pay many thousands for on a long haul flight.

The increase in passenger numbers by having this set up will hopefully make the trains pay for themselves.

The seats that turn into beds would also have power sockets, WiFi (free) and a screen that can be connected to your smart device, or access an onboard entertainment system. You could also call for service and perhaps receive certain complimentary items and toiletries for arrival.

The seated coach(es) would have nice seats, akin to premium economy. There would be no bog standard seats at all, but that could be an option too for those willing to slum it and save a packet (e.g students)

I think that's the way to go. In this day and age sharing a compartment with a stranger in Standard isn't really acceptable, and it's only a matter of time before it results in an incident or at least an allegation of one. An arrangement with more berths in a larger saloon is less likely to have this sort of problem since the presence of other passengers makes it more self-policing.

I think they'd stick with Euston as nowhere else has a combination of long enough platforms, convenient rail access northwards and relatively good interchange to Eurostar. However with all those space-hungry extras in First Class there might be a need for more than two trains each way per night. I can't see any insurmountable operational difficulties with this, though obviously they would have to generate a lot more revenue to cover the extra costs.

The extra stock could be found by fitting Mk3 day coaches displaced by IEP with new interiors with curtained-off bays or similar, to form the new Standard coaches. The existing sleepers would be converted to First by dividing some of the compartments into two en-suites for the compartments either side. These compartments would normally be single occupancy with perhaps a discount for people on the same booking willing to share one.
 

Tobbes

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The extra stock could be found by fitting Mk3 day coaches displaced by IEP with new interiors with curtained-off bays or similar, to form the new Standard coaches. The existing sleepers would be converted to First by dividing some of the compartments into two en-suites for the compartments either side. These compartments would normally be single occupancy with perhaps a discount for people on the same booking willing to share one.

Certainly agree that en-suite is likely, but the VIA pricing policy on their ex-Nightstar coaches is interesting - they seem to have with shower, with meals /with shower, without meals / without shower with meals / without shower without meals / seated. Ignoring the meals element, the mix of with / without showers still has 10 berths per carriage, rather than 7 or 8 (from 13) that would happen with every other berth becoming an en-suite if it is feasible from an engineering perspective. Given that capacity will drive income, a mix of first / second / seated is still attractive.
 

paulypaul

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I think it depends on what market the operator and Scottish government are aiming at.

Will the seated saloon go for a no frills leather recliner to compete with Megabus/National Express or will it go down the path of more of a flat bed style?

Will first class be en-suite, with say an inclusive meal, to compete with the airlines?

Will second feature shared fascilities still?
 
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