Caledonian Sleeper discussion

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by LeylandLen, 29 Jul 2015.

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  1. Scotrail84

    Scotrail84 Established Member

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    The plan was to shunt a brake van in at Carstairs, until they realised they couldn't do it without poxing the station and mainline for ages.
     
  2. scotrail170407

    scotrail170407 Member

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    Thank you
     
  3. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    I’ve found that CS/GBRf sometimes have a tendency to come up with elaborate plans without seeking the input of Network Rail at an early stage then get upset when it turns out that the available infrastructure cannot support what they hope to do, either in terms of there not being signalled moves for weird and wonderful shunts, possessions blocking routes for last minute VSTP coach swaps from one side of the country to the other, or being unable to accept vehicles being stabled on running lines or in stations for hours on end. In that respect things have gone downhill since the new franchise took over; things that appear simple when looking at a Quail Map in an office in Peterborough aren’t quite so easy to do in real life. The fleet being moved from cyclic maintenance at Inverness to a seemingly more ad hoc arrangement at Polmadie (with the requirement to swap coaches in and out at the Waverley) hasn’t helped matters. Everyone is working towards the same goal but it can be a frustrating situation for both sides.
     
  4. fgwrich

    fgwrich Established Member

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    If your lucky enough, you can catch one of the ACLG Electrics (usually 87002) on passenger duties when the sleepers are on diversion via East Coast. The 92 will work it from Edinburgh Waverley to Wembley via the East Coast and North London Line, where another loco will then tag onto the end and haul the Sleeper back down into Euston. I was lucky enough to have this with 87002 back in August.
     
  5. swaldman

    swaldman Member

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    No, you're definitely not. I used to do London to/from Inverness and Aberdeen a few times a year back in about 2010-12ish. Now, every time I look at it, it's cheaper to fly down and book a luxury hotel overnight[1] - so there's no way I can justify it to anybody. It makes me very sad, as I dislike unnecessary air travel for a whole host of reasons.
    The fare increases are a large part of the difference, but equally important is that you can't book a bunk in a shared cabin any more - which for a solo traveller who was willing to do that, effectively means another 50% or more onto the cost. Seems very odd to me that when the disadvantage of a sleeper train is already that one can't get many people on it, it runs with a load of berths empty because of this...

    [1] Not that I do - but it demonstrates the absurdity.
     
  6. swaldman

    swaldman Member

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    Hmm. The charitable way of looking at things is that by subsidising a service used mostly by tourists, the government(s) are aiding Scottish tourism, possibly to quite a good return on their investment.

    The cynical view is that the sleeper is the favoured way for many Scottish MPs to get to and from their constituencies... and so it will always get the subsidy that it needs to run, but it doesn't matter how much the tickets cost as they go on expenses anyway.

    Either way I find it absurd that we subsidise a service and yet it's still too expensive for most local people to use.
     
  7. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    Good summary of the subsidy rationale...!

    In terms of the final point, the other way of looking at it is even with a multi-million pound annual subsidy, the prices are still high and Serco still make a loss - which gives an indication of how costly (or cost inefficient) a Sleeper train is to run - and quite how much the tickets would be without the subsidy.

    A logical progression maybe that the subsidy should be even bigger to make the fares affordable...?? Can’t see that happening though, nor anyone suggesting it...!

    With all the specialised stock, crew, locos, drivers, shunters, track access, cleaning/prep etc etc for trains which can only work once every 24 hours and can carry comparatively few passengers the Sleeper inherently has a high cost per passenger.

    It’d be interestring to know what that real cost was and compare that to what people think they should pay for it, as there appears to be a big disconnect between the two.
     
  8. swaldman

    swaldman Member

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    That's true - and actually, given the low passenger density, I'd be interested to know the energy use per passenger km compared to flying.
    However, we need to remember that Scotrail were able to make it work with much, much lower fares! I don't know whether the level of subsidy has reduced? Or whether perhaps First Scotrail were cross-subsidising from their other services? Or whether Serco are just hoping to rake it in...
     
  9. Norther Monkey

    Norther Monkey Member

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    For those that work offshore that's exactly the situation. Aberdeen is the departure point for most helicopter transfers to offshore installations. Although many offshore workers do live in the north of Scotland, if you're on an offshore rotation you can pretty much live where you want with one big commute every 2-3 weeks.
     
    Last edited: 11 Oct 2018
  10. pitdiver

    pitdiver Member

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    Somewhere up thread someone mentioned the cost of flying to Aberdeen. I am flying up there next year. £23 Luton-Aberdeen. Aberdeen -Luton £25
     
  11. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Im a bit sceptical that there were ever many offshore workers on the sleeper to be honest.
    The offshore helicopters tend to leave in a big cluster before 8 am in the morning, then in dribs and drabs throughout the day and then another cluster in the evening I wouldn't have thought that the sleeper was good for maybe 75% of the flights.
    There might well have been more people travelling to the offices of offshore firms in years gone by but I rather think that died out with budget airlines.
     
  12. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    Exactly, check in at Aberdeen for morning offshore helicopter flights is generally around 0500 - 0600. Most of my family and friends who work offshore (and there are plenty of them, having grown up in the north east) are taxied to the airport. I think the whole ‘offshore workers using the sleeper’ thing is a myth perpetuated by those who don’t understand how the oil industry works.
     
  13. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    92014 leading 1S25 tonight with 90045 Dead in Train to get it back to Edinburgh (after it brought the Aberdeen ECS south this morning).
    92023 on 5S95/1S26
    92033 on 1M11
    90047 on 1M16
    86401 on 1C11 etc
     
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2018
  14. Sarahs_Railway

    Sarahs_Railway Member

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    Surely the Aberdeen sections low load is due to the pricing? I for one don't use them anymore. £95 single one year ago and now £160 in the same stock? Dream on Serco.
     
  15. Sarahs_Railway

    Sarahs_Railway Member

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    This may be interest and other more learned members can add flesh to the bones - 73961 was in Craigentinny around 1700 today in a siding with two DB Cherry red 67's blockng the exit. I think one of the 67's was 014 but I was half asleep so don't take my word on that. Also a Colas 47 with a black nameplate that I presume was "City of Truro"?
     
  16. aar0

    aar0 Member

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    Funnily enough, having Googled LNER 3rd Class sleepers, I found the following link, showing showers in sleeper coaches in the 30s! https://www.steve-banks.org/modelling/233-lner-66-6-1st-sleeping-car
     
  17. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    Thanks for the info. However, on Tues am, 86401 (on 5Z26 VSTP) ran the stock that had been stranded at Aberdeen on Sunday night after 47749 sat down out to Carstairs from Polmadie in the early hours. 86401 ran back light (0Z26) and 1B26 then ran (90047) - which suggests they were successfully reunited with the rest of the half-set at Carstairs.

    1S26 this morning was Load 13 (Aberdeen portion currently Load 5 I believe, so a train with that part missing would be a Load 11). This would suggest 1S26 was light of 3 coaches this morning (including a brake) for some other reasons/failures.

    I take it you're referring to this morning? (as the plan to add on coaches from Polmadie did seem to work Tues morning as above)

    The maintenance is still cyclical - the sets rotate around the routes so they pass through Polmadie and Wembley at regular intervals. As for the Fort Bill day coaches, these have always come off/on at Edinburgh and just travel between EDB and FTW, so even when the main depot was Inverness, they'd presumably still have had to do the periodic swaps to/from Edinburgh to change the two "day coaches" over for maintenance?
     
  18. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    I take it you saw 73971 (961 is currently in Kent). 971 is at EC for attention along with 970 currently.

    The 47 was indeed 47749, back at EC after its misbehaviour in Aberdeen on Sunday night.

    It'll have been 67004 you saw I think, as 014 is in Crewe IEMD at the moment (and silver!) - 004 is now DB Red (used to be CS Midnight Teal ironically) - it worked 1M16 south last night, but then declared a failure and replaced by 66746 + 73969.

    The other DB Red 67 will have been 010.
     
  19. Sarahs_Railway

    Sarahs_Railway Member

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    Thank you Tim. I only noticed it because the 73 was blocked by the 2 67's. As I said I was half asleep and gazing into the middle distance!
     
  20. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    I don’t think there can be any doubt that FSR cross subsidised. I suspect it was also more efficient with crewing etc for the highlander north of the central belt.
     
  21. JModulo

    JModulo Member

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    86401 1C11 tonight.
     
  22. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

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    Which is clearly why it was left out of the WCML package back in 1994 - 96 or whatever , as well as giving some considerable local control at the time on resources etc. Particularly for workload on vehicle mtc etc ......
     
  23. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Member

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    This is broadly true although with maintenance and especially servicing split across Wembley, Polmadie, Clayhills (Aberdeen, actually an outbase of Craigentinny) as well as Inverness and Fort William it was inevitably going be a bit of a contractual challenge.

    I always struggled with the concept of something being ‘cross subsidised’ within a heavily subsidised ScotRail franchise.

    Fundamentally sleepers are never going to make a profit with such low vehicle utilisation and occupancy, especially with very little additional revenue from mail or parcels in the modern era. (Seafood from the WHL noted.)
     
  24. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    A lot of effort went into trying to get the pod flatbeds to work, and it was a serious problem when it couldn't be resolved - that was going to be the low-cost but still reasonably comfortable option that would have high capacity and a decent profit margin. It's rather seriously affected the economics of the new trains now it can't be provided.

    Essentially they couldn't come up with a suitable layout that could get safety approval - the best layout for comfort and space would have caused serious problems in a collision, and the safest layout was extremely unattractive.
     
  25. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Was something totally different not considered, eg longitudinal couchettes?
     
  26. Clansman

    Clansman Established Member

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    Any idea as to what this would've looked like?
     
  27. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    I've seen various proposed layouts, but my memory fails me a bit, I'm afraid. Suffice to say a lot of effort went into trying to solve it all, but it just couldn't be done.
     
  28. jagardner1984

    jagardner1984 Member

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    One quick question. Has anyone been on the service in standard where you have to share with someone travelling from a different station ? (It would seem kind of rubbish if you do). The Lowlander is ludicrously expensive when I need to travel next week, so I’m considering getting the FW to/from Dalmuir, and figuring the number of male travellers on a Tuesday night at 23:07 from Dalmuir is probably quite limited !!
     
  29. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    23:07 on a Sunday, 23:52 on weeknights

    It isn't so clear how sharing from different stations works now that people choose berths online. It doesn't make sense to turn away custom from one station just because another person has booked a berth at another.
     
  30. Norther Monkey

    Norther Monkey Member

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    I'm curious, as a layperson, how this could be. Trains run every day at 125 mph with no seat belts, people standing, loose luggage, unrestrained catering trolleys etc. etc. Presumably this is considered acceptably safe.
    Yet a few dozen basic beds, bolted to the floor, were considered unsafe?
     
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2018
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