Caledonian Sleeper formations?

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tiptoptaff

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Hello,

Did a quick search and nothing seems to have come up answering my question, which is:

What's the general make up of the Highland Sleeper? Such as Sleeper, Sleeper, Dining, Lounge, Seated, Sleeper....etc?

Would there be each of these in each of the portions?
Hope people understand what I'm getting at, and can possibly answer?

Thanks,
TTT
 
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Crossover

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On the Highland, leaving London there are 2 seated coaches and 2 lounge cars - Fort William and Aberdeen share one until Edinburgh where an additional set is added on and passengers transferred as necessary.
 

jopsuk

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for most of the post-privitisation era the basic set up has revolved around eight-carriage sets, formed:
Seated-Lounge-Sleeper x6

Each of the Highland & Lowland departures from Euston is formed of two of these sets with the seated & lounge cars at the London end. The Lowland sleeper is split into two at Carstairs. The Highland splits at Edinburgh, with a whole set going to Inverness (this was because the maintenance was done there- a ninth complete 8-car set would be getting worked on there). The other set would be split, with the seated+lounge and 3-4 sleepers going to Aberdeen. 3-2 sleepers go to Fort William with a seated & lounge car added on.

Seated passengers for Fort William have to get up in the night and move carriages.
 

47271

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There was a period last year when, due to maintenance challenges experienced by Serco (these are discussed extensively in another thread), formations became a lot more random, or certainly confused. From what I hear this has steadied now and the trains are running pretty reliably in the makeup described above.
 

tiptoptaff

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Thanks - so the length of the Inverness portion isn't directly related to demand? I'm travelling on it next week and have a standard berth, just wondered if there would be space for me to use the lounge car.

Am I right in thinking that seated passengers don't have access to this, only berth passengers?
 

flash

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Technically only first class berth passengers have access to the lounge car - although I have never been refused access or turned out on a standard ticket. It will no doubt depend on the demand on the day.
 

Emblematic

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Technically only first class berth passengers have access to the lounge car - although I have never been refused access or turned out on a standard ticket. It will no doubt depend on the demand on the day.

According to the website it's
  • Priority access to the Lounge Car for First
  • Access to Lounge Car (subject to space) for standard berths
  • Counter service available for food and drink for seated passengers
I've also never had any problems accessing the lounge.
 
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47271

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- so the length of the Inverness portion isn't directly related to demand?

Just to answer this part of your question, it's rare for the Inverness section to run as anything more than seated-lounge-3xFirst-3xStandard. I've heard of extra carriages appearing in the formation but I think this happened more often in Scotrail days when Inverness looked after stock maintenance and individual vehicles were moved around out of service but within the nightly train.

It would be difficult for them to strengthen it even at the busiest times of year because any gain in Inverness capacity would have to be balanced by a loss in the Aberdeen/FW sections, otherwise the train won't fit in Euston.

What did happen this winter just gone was a reduction in lengths to allow the train to enter Kings Cross during the Lamington diversions, a smart move for which CS deserve considerable credit. Luckily the temporary loss of capacity came at a quiet time of year. It may also have helped them get on top of some of the maintenance issues which plagued the fleet, especially the mk2s and per my post above, during the second half of 2015.
 
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tiptoptaff

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Just to answer this part of your question, it's rare for the Inverness section to run as anything more than seated-lounge-3xFirst-3xStandard. I've heard of extra carriages appearing in the formation but I think this happened more often in Scotrail days when Inverness looked after stock maintenance and individual vehicles were moved around out of service but within the nightly train.

It would be difficult for them to strengthen it even at the busiest times of year because any gain in Inverness capacity would have to be balanced by a loss in the Aberdeen/FW sections, otherwise the train won't fit in Euston.

What did happen this winter just gone was a reduction in lengths to allow the train to enter Kings Cross during the Lamington diversions, a smart move for which CS deserve considerable credit. Luckily the temporary loss of capacity came at a quiet time of year. It may also have helped them get on top of some of the maintenance issues which plagued the fleet, especially the mk2s and per my post above, during the second half of 2015.


Thanks - what I'm really trying to ask I suppose is what's the likelihood of it being full? And as such, the chance of being refused entry to the lounge car?
 

47271

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I'm not a regular user myself but I know a few who are, so having picked up on the etiquette I think this is the best answer to your question second hand.

Very busy lounges, typically the northbound Inverness on Thursday and Friday nights in the summer, will fill at boarding time (2030). I'm not so familiar with people who travel in the opposite direction from Inverness, but I imagine the same thing will happen there and *probably* mostly on Sunday and Monday nights. I understand that in those circumstances some crew may ask lounge users for their compartment numbers on the basis that they're giving priority to First Class users, and Standard ticket holders may be asked to return later. Others are happy to work on a first come first served basis. Bear in mind that if it's that busy they aren't able to fit all First Class holders either and there may be tables reserved for people with prepaid meals.

The best advice I've been given is to be on your mettle, especially northbound late in the week and southbound at the start, get checked in on the dot and ready to go to the lounge straight away. Unsurprisingly being pleasant to whoever's in charge of the lounge does you no harm, so if you're travelling Standard and they're full, offer to come back later or help with a solution like temporarily spreading your group out rather than arguing about it and they may be able to work wonders for you like moving people from other tables.

Also don't be afraid to ask politely to share a table with another passenger if someone's on their own, the regulars are generally friendly, full of stories, and happy to chat, or some may even offer to move to accommodate a larger group. It's rude to ask them to move however and I'm told the protocol is that you owe them a drink if they do shift for for you. (I'm not sure how true this last bit is, the person who told me likes a whisky!)
 

tiptoptaff

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Thanks for the tips! I'm, travelling on a Wednesday evening in April so hopefully a quieter day? When I booked last week the woman on the phone told me they had full availability. The only reason I'm curious about the lounge car is its the only place to charge my mobile and I don't want to be couped up in my berth for the whole trip!
 

Crossover

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Thanks for the tips! I'm, travelling on a Wednesday evening in April so hopefully a quieter day? When I booked last week the woman on the phone told me they had full availability. The only reason I'm curious about the lounge car is its the only place to charge my mobile and I don't want to be couped up in my berth for the whole trip!

One word of warning is that there is a chance you may not get the "nice" lounge cars - some of the them are just a normal Mark 2(?) 1st Class coach with seating around tables as per a normal carriage and I'm not sure if they have power sockets

i.e.
If you get one of these, the sockets are at the longitudinal seats down the side of the coach
http://www.seat61.com/images/CalSleeper-lounge.jpg

If you get the Cally Sleeper version of this, you may not have sockets
https://ecoquestions.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cornwall-sleeper-lounge.jpg
 

greaterwest

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One word of warning is that there is a chance you may not get the "nice" lounge cars - some of the them are just a normal Mark 2(?) 1st Class coach with seating around tables as per a normal carriage and I'm not sure if they have power sockets

i.e.
If you get one of these, the sockets are at the longitudinal seats down the side of the coach
http://www.seat61.com/images/CalSleeper-lounge.jpg

If you get the Cally Sleeper version of this, you may not have sockets
https://ecoquestions.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/cornwall-sleeper-lounge.jpg

If you have the latter, you will not have plugs.
 

headshot119

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Why don't you get yourself one of these. They'll (I have two) charge my iPhone 6S+ from dead two and a bit times.

Much easier for travelling than being dependent on stock turning up with plug sockets; or in some cases relying on the plug sockets working at all (ATW 158s I'm looking at you)
 

Crossover

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Why don't you get yourself one of these. They'll (I have two) charge my iPhone 6S+ from dead two and a bit times.

Much easier for travelling than being dependent on stock turning up with plug sockets; or in some cases relying on the plug sockets working at all (ATW 158s I'm looking at you)

In a similar vain, I have recently purchased one of these
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Anker-Power...mpact-Fast-Charging-Technology/dp/B019GJLER8/

Much lighter and smaller than I expected and meant I wasn't concerned about saving power through the day before catching the Night Riviera to St Erth. Think that will charge an iPhone 5S about 5 times over and an iPad once
 

TimboM

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Thanks for the tips! I'm, travelling on a Wednesday evening in April so hopefully a quieter day? When I booked last week the woman on the phone told me they had full availability. The only reason I'm curious about the lounge car is its the only place to charge my mobile and I don't want to be couped up in my berth for the whole trip!

Tip for charging your phone: take a European 2-pin adaptor, plug it in the shaver socket in your berth. Job done :D
 

47271

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I totally agree on the above self sufficient arrangements for phone charging, but for accuracy the CS lounges fitted with traditional First Class seats DO have plug sockets along the 1+1 bank. I'm not saying that they'll work, but I have charged a laptop at them once or twice over the years.

The other layout with the loose chairs only has sockets between the leather sofas.

Interestingly the feedback from regulars is a preference for the train seats rather than the '80s nightclub with the cleaners' lights on' look as they call it. And when it's described in those terms you can see what they mean. :)
 
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