Caledonian Sleeper

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Essexman, 10 Jan 2019.

  1. Essexman

    Essexman Member

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    The Caledonian Sleeper thread was closed because matters were being raised in it that were also in other threads. It was a shame because I found it the most interesting thread on the forum and hence I now visit here less often. Today another poster has asked a question in a rolling stock thread that would have been better in this thread had it still been open. Can we give it another go, perhaps with some ground rules?

    For starters, I travelled Euston to Glasgow Monday night and Inverness to Euston last night. A few comments / questions.

    There were few passengers travelling to Glasgow and we were moved into one coach (I’m not sure if everyone was in the one coach or just those being looked after by one steward, but think the former as no other doors opened at Glasgow). So having carefully chosen a berth online I was given one at the end of the coach. I asked to change and they swapped me to the middle but I still had passengers either side so it was less quiet. I’d happily have been the sole passenger in a coach further up the train, as I once was when I declined the option to move on another trip. Is this movement of passengers to make it easier for staff (serving breakfast? – although I don’t usually have any) or another reason?

    I had a shower in Glasgow, offered the usual fiver but was asked if I’d come on the Caledonian as it’s free for sleeper passengers. How long has this been the case? It doesn’t seem to be publicised. Good to have it though.

    As usual I was woken by the shunting at Edinburgh. I appreciate that this has to happen but could it be done more gently? In the old days when locomotives or part trains were joined (and indeed still are sometimes) it was generally with just a slight bump, nothing like is usual on the sleeper.

    It was a class 92 from Edinburgh last night and I noticed a lot of what I assume was wheel slip – coaches lurching as the train accelerates. Departing from Edinburgh was one place this happened and there were at least couple more places. Is this inevitable with a heavy train and wet rails, or is it avoidable?

    I’ve made about 130 journeys on the Mark 3 Scottish sleepers. I wonder if these were my last?

    Hoping we can have our sleeper thread back that I know many enjoyed.
     
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  3. Kite159

    Kite159 Veteran Member

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    It might be that the train was lightly loaded so by putting all the guests together in one coach they free up the other berths for seated passengers given upgrades if the seated coach was out of action?
     
  4. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    I don't have anything new to say about the sleeper as of now, the chaos engulfing Scotrail has distracted us all from CS, but I agree that closure of the old thread was a loss to the forum.

    The part of it that least interested me was all of the stuff about locomotive numbers, 73s, 90s, 92s etc so maybe it could be split into 'operations' for those who want to discuss the trains themselves, and 'service' for those who want to comment on the day to day experience as a passenger.

    Just a suggestion.
     
  5. Essexman

    Essexman Member

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    That might be a good solution.
    I'm interested in most aspects of the sleeper, including what type of locomotive, but not the specific number. I agree that in depth discussion on the new stock and probably information on individual locomotive haulage should be in another thread. General observations, questions, reminisences etc all make up an interesting thread.
     
  6. island

    island Established Member

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    Showers at the terminal stations are free for first class sleeper passengers. They should give you a coupon on board.
     
  7. Essexman

    Essexman Member

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    I knew that was the case at Fort William, Aberdeen & Euston but not elsewhere. I gave them my first class ticket but she would have let me have it free with any ticket.
     
  8. frodshamfella

    frodshamfella Member

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    I'm travelling from Euston to Edinburgh on a Thursday night in March on the sleeper for the first time. It's a journey I've always wanted to do !
     
  9. BRX

    BRX Established Member

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    Hooray! Sleeper thread is back. Let's hope this version doesn't get shut down. The last one was one of the most interesting threads on here.
     
  10. cb a1

    cb a1 Member

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    Just been browing the CS website and looked up Dundee.

    I wonder when that page was last reviewed. The picture of the station is at least 6 years old!

    Pretty sure there's no ATM or Postbox. The fact that there's a dedicated Sleeper Lounge with free tea / coffee / biscuits / crisps / etc. should be mentioned.

    I also only learnt the last time I was catching the Sleeper south and chatting to the 'Sleeper Lounge Host' that the lounge was also open in the morning for the use of arriving passengers. The fact that she got one or two customers a week should indicate to Serco that they maybe need to do some more advertising of these facilities.
     
  11. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    Presumably said Sleeper Lounge Host must also do something or other else? One or two passengers a week couldn’t justify their existence! Altnabreac could see more passengers than that...
     
  12. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    I've always guessed it's for the benefit of the staff, just as when they try and boot you off the train almost a few minutes after arriving rather than the official 'vacate by' time shown in the timetable so they can go early. Totally get not wanting a berth adjacent to occupied berths if possible and not getting an end compartment.
     
  13. cb a1

    cb a1 Member

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    I think that's why she was telling us this It's only an hour or so work in a morning before she goes into Uni, but for her an important bit of income.
    She had used her own initiative and said she'd stood on the platform to tell departing passengers but after being swore at by a couple of passengers she felt uncomfortable continuing to do that.
     
  14. route101

    route101 Established Member

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    Often wondered how well its used , Theres one at Leuchars and at Perth too. How many passengers board the sleeper at Dundee??
     
  15. bobbyrail

    bobbyrail Member

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    Got to agree its actually one of the things that helped me discover this brilliant forum. I think the cal sleeper service is one of the great things about the railways that should be shouted about, the original thread was a very rounded thread in that it encompassed the number spotters, general rail enthusiasts, people who had travelled on the sleeper and those that aspired too, that's not forgetting those that had an interest in the infrastructure, signalling and planning. I do hope that this thread remains so that similar people to myself can get that info, status, and general direction and experience of the service before we shell out hundreds to travel on it.
     
  16. leightonbd

    leightonbd Member

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    I did three journeys London - Edinburgh in the last few weeks of 2018 - all on time, all clean and comfortable, all (in F.C.) with a good breakfast. Also enjoyed an excellent hot shower in the Euston lounge before boarding.

    When it’s good (even with the existing stock) it is excellent and a very attractive alternative to a late train from Kings Cross or a ride out to Heathrow. City Airport is unspeakably crowded these days.

    If the operators can just keep the performance up when the new kit comes in ...
     
  17. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    Am I reading this correctly?

    The entire manifest of passengers for the evening may have fitted in one carriage?

    I know it’s a quiet time of the year but if that is the case someone needs to seriously question what CS are playing at with regards to pricing.

    I’m not saying sell the tickets for peanuts but perhaps promoting the quiet nights and selling the tickets (advance) at but less that £140 standard and £180 1st class might stimulate demand. Given that the service will presumably run with crew for the six carriages the only additional outlay will be cleaning and laundering. Flogging tickets at £100 and £140 would more than cover that and reduce the running costs for the night.
     
  18. cb a1

    cb a1 Member

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    I use the sleeper about 3 or 4 times a year and nearly always mid-week. I would guesstimate that between 5 and 15 people board at Dundee.
     
  19. Essexman

    Essexman Member

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    I’m not sure. The steward said he was putting everyone in one coach but that may just have been from the coaches he was in charge of. However it was the only coach that I saw anyone get out off immediately on arrival in Glasgow.
     
  20. Chrism20

    Chrism20 Established Member

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    That is rather alarming even for the time of year.

    The hoteliers within my family would describe that as a gross failure to manage the inventory.
     
  21. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    It’s not only a quiet time of the year, its just about the quietest time of the year. You can pick any of the 10 Easyjet flights from London to Glasgow for this coming Monday and the most expensive is £41. (It’s quiet for them too).

    Nevertheless, there are an awful lot of people out there who travel London -Scotland who will actively avoid the sleeper, even if it was £50.
     
  22. cb a1

    cb a1 Member

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    Definitely. When I travel London to Scotland, I'm not paying so the cost isn't an issue. I appreciate that there are many customers for whom cost is an issue, but I'm not addressing that point.

    Personally, I much prefer the sleeper to flying, but I have colleagues who are the opposite and would always select flying over the sleeper and I don't think that even a double bed with silk sheets, a Champagne breakfast, etc. would entice them on to the sleeper.
     
  23. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    And that’s the point. For many people the sleeper is just irrelevant. Although, actually, the main competitors for the sleeper are the day train and the overnight bus.
     
  24. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'd use it if I could sleep on it. I can't, so it's more of an adventure which can't really involve a day's work the day after.
     
  25. IKB

    IKB Member

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    I'm very pro-rail, but even I think twice about using the sleeper now (and thats on PRIV rate), unless its somewhere far flung like Fort Bill which is pain to reach using other means. I certainly wouldn't pay the full public fares for whats on offer. The MK3 experience is too hit and miss. The last couple of times I've ended up roughly mid-coach, but with very noisy underfloor auxiliary equipment which has vibrated the bed for the entire trip. I'm hoping the new carriages will be a tad more refined and sound proofed. I've also found the attitude of the staff a bit lacking on occasion, with a host or two being unnecessarily rude to customers who venture into the lounge when it's full. The onboard food and drink is good, but I question stock levels too. My last trip back from Fort Bill in the summer, they only had two 'haggis' dishes available. There must have been at least 6-8 people in the coach who asked for it, but most were disappointed. Railway catering only survives if people can rely on it. People aren't going to risk not having dinner beforehand, only to board the train and find they menu is limited or missing. Thats my two cents worth anyway.
     
  26. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    I am going to try the new stock, hopefully next summer. But more in hope than expectation.
     
  27. VT 390

    VT 390 Member

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    Does anyone know when the New sleeper stock will be operating on all Highland services?
     
  28. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    I agree with the staff comment. My last three trips have been met with fairly rude and uninterested staff both in the lounge, and out. As a mode of a to b transport it still seems to work though it is now comically expensive. As an ‘experience’ which they seem to like to suggest it is which may be how they try to justify the price it has completely lost its way.
    No hosts to show you at least to the carriage, people who have never been on it before simply wouldn’t have a clue where they were going anymore. Ask for a cup of tea (no food) at 0900 on the way towards fort William and get it at 0715 and get looked at rudely when you’re still in bed.
    It’s just a general disappointment of late. It certainly no longer feels like they care.
     
  29. Meerkat

    Meerkat Member

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    Pretty depressing that some folk would swear at someone offering them free stuff.
    But maybe they picked that attitude up from the on train staff judging by some comments here....
     
  30. BRX

    BRX Established Member

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    I've had similar experience with the food stock levels on my past few trips. Not been left hungry yet, but have had to choose between one or two remaining options.
     
  31. al78

    al78 Established Member

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    I used the sleeper in June last year to do a linear two day walk. I found the experience fine, but it is a very expensive way to travel. I did book first class so it was nearly £500 to get to Scotland and back for a weekend hiking, all my camping equipment and walking gear combined came to less than that. Sleeping was a bit intermittant outgoing but had a decent sleep coming back, probably because I had spent the previous day and a half walking 28 miles. This year I am planning a longer backpacking trip which involves first getting to Inverness. I would prefer to go by train but paying the sleeper prices or getting a daytime train, which when I recently checked for a couple of months in advance, cost £190 one way with no advance ticket available, I am coming to the conclusion that paying a little over £40 for an Easyjet flight from Gatwick to Inverness is the most sensible option. Even adding the cost of getting too/from the airports it is still less than half the price of the train. If we get within 12 weeks of late May (I will be travelling a few days before the second bank holiday weekend) and advance tickets are non-existant for Horsham to Inverness, I will very likely take a flight.
     

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