Caledonian Sleeper

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

  1. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    Yeah, well unless you're very rich (think Oban/Connel airport) theres no airport anywhere close near to Ft William , let alone one RY operates out of.
     
  2. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    I see; so does that make the lounge car purely first-come, first-served, and does it mean that the CS Lounge on Academy Street in Inverness is unused at the moment?
     
  3. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Tried to book a ticket from Fort William.. no obvious way to buy tickets just within Scotland. I did a search for a seat to London, to see what the price would be, and it said no services were available.

    I then went on Trainsplit and booked there; a bargain at £10 to Glasgow. I will stay overnight in a hotel because if I was to remain on the train it would likely cost a fortune (if you can even get a ticket!) and would probably be a very poor experience too.

    I hope my experience is better than the last one; I don't think I've come across a ruder member of staff on the entire network since then!

    I'm not sure how long this service will be viable for; it really is appalling.
     
  4. MrEd

    MrEd Member

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    I’m not sure about the Academy Street/Union Street lounge, as I very rarely use it, but remember that there will be residual first class bookings in the system (from people who booked some time ago, or when it was thought that the new stock with Club en-suite rooms would be in use). I used the Highlander last week on a Club Ticket (bought in expectation of the new stock) and all rooms were made up with both bunks, but Club passengers still got the complimentary toiletries and the complimentary breakfast with a reserved place in the lounge.

    In the evenings, the Highlander lounge is (based entirely on last week’s observations) a complete free-for-all; staff are not even allowed to save tables for regulars at the moment in the evenings, so they tell me. Basically, if you want a table, just get there early, regardless of what class you are travelling. The nonsensical ban on sharing tables with strangers also seems to have been done away with, at least for now, as the old-school team leaders both northbound and southbound (Scottish crews both ways) told guests just to ‘plonk themselves anywhere’. Heading north to Spean Bridge, I had a fantastic conversation with a lovely Norwegian businessman heading to Aberdeen; heading south from Inverness, I sat opposite a man who was so engrossed in his laptop he didn’t so much as acknowledge me when I greeted him, not that I minded. It’s just good that the limited space in the lounge is being used sensibly. I have been told that a reservation system may be introduced around the end of the year, once the new stock is running well on all routes, but that the lounge will remain a free-for-all for as long as the old stock is still used.

    Another unpopular policy- the check-in system- has now been changed, at least for the Highlander. The chaotic queueing system has been replaced by a system whereby you check in with your dedicated carriage host, as in First Group days. The only difference is that you still fill in a card for your breakfast order. However, this card is now given to you by the host when you check in (to make sure that you have the right card for the class of travel which you booked, as first class passengers often found standard class order cards in their berths) rather than you finding it in your berth.

    It’s almost like someone in senior management has been looking through this thread...Perhaps lots of passengers had given similar feedback. Either way, I think it’s a positive step and it does show (I think) that management are listening to (and taking seriously) legitimate concerns from passengers and staff.
     
  5. Jcm9000

    Jcm9000 New Member

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    Replying to a few recent posts (and a first post...)...The Highlander arrangement is odd. I did EUS-CRR a few weeks back (30th trip on the caley). Could not buy first. Virgin still let me in the lounge in Euston despite supposedly not being allowed. Went to the lounge car on boarding - half the tables held for first class ticket holders. . Breakfast - all tables except one held for first class ticket holders. Yet no first class could be bought when I purchased a couple of months back and the train crew were aware (and frustrated by it) - as were the call centre when I called on booking to ask what was going on. Confusing and disappointing to be honest. Offer the service or don’t.

    Glad to see the new queueing nonsense has gone; that simply annoyed everyone. At FTW the lounge guests were slowly rounded up - with no regards to those with a first class ticket (again that supposedly couldn’t be bought!) actually queuing to get on. Shame those same passengers then had no service at all in the lounge car.... On the new lowlander, it was a free for all, no ‘priority boarding’ at either Central or Euston when I did a return in May.

    I was on a ten quid ticket back to glasgow - if you want one, book it on scotrail or trainline, not with the caley. Curiously, i couldn’t book CRR-GLQ; but FTW-GLQ was fine. Assume some political influence for links from the islands?
     
  6. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    Thank you very much for the detailed information. I’m now better-prepared and will follow your advice.
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Apparently once the Mk5s are working (ha!) there will be a couple of spare seated coaches. Given that one of them will I guess need to be kept somewhere in Scotland, why not put it on the FW set? It could then be opened for reservations as a completely separate day coach from the night coach (stick it in the timetable as a separate train, the way VT do with the Chester/Holyhead split) and solve this silly issue. If it was needed on the night due to a failure, shunt it out and cram everyone up a bit as far as Glasgow.
     
  8. Jocques

    Jocques Member

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    Unrelated, but I'm making my first CS journey next month. It'll be the Highlander from Crewe to FW. I'm just wondering, as there is talk of hosts and such - do I not just clamber aboard and find my berth myself?
     
  9. haggishunter

    haggishunter Member

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    In that last wee while it has become possible to select Sleeper Advances from Glasgow to/from Fort William on the ScotRail website and also to select the sleeper seats on return tickets with a Highland Railcard. So there appears to be some progress, though I caution that I've not used the seats for a day journey on one such a ticket yet!
     
  10. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Enough. The rights or wrongs of staff swearing where they may or may not be overheard is completely off-topic. If anyone does wish to discuss this then do so on a new thread. I would also like to remind members of two things. Firstly that if you see a post that concerns you or you believe breaks the Forum Rules then report it. Do not respond or quote it as that simply generates more work. Secondly the Forum Rules also require under the section entitled "Respectful" that:
    • We aim to create a friendly environment for all members, where individuals respect each other. Please ensure your contributions comply with this.
    I am concerned that there were some contributions on this thread that did not meet that requirement so I would request that members think before posting and ensure that future contributions are compliant with that requirement.

    Any further off-topic discussion in this thread is liable for deletion without further warning.

    Thank you,
    ainsworth74
     
  11. Gems

    Gems Member

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    Just what is the topic to be discussed here?

    I would have thought the views of a first time user of this service were very relevant topic wise. I'll give my views on Caledonian sleeper and it's staff. Shocking. And this comes from someone with nearly twenty years on the railway.
    Everything that is wrong with the way any service is run is on display here. Shabby trains, poor staff passenger relations, no facilities on offer, couldn't care less attitude. It is no surprise the Scottish government are up in arms about it, Terrible from start to finish.
     
  12. Essexman

    Essexman Member

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    At intermediate stations a host should meet you at the door of your coach.
     
  13. Scotrail84

    Scotrail84 Established Member

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    There'll be 11 seated cars. 15001-011. Thing is the sets are semi permanently coupled together and are called units with coaches only really being removed from the set for essential maintenance. The coaches are not designed to mixed and matched like what you can do with the current mk2 and mk3's
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm suggesting permanently putting it into the FW short set (i.e. the pair of seating/lounge car becoming a lounge car and *two* seating cars), only removing it from there if it is needed in another set.
     
  15. MrEd

    MrEd Member

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    Yes, that’s what happened the last time I boarded the sleeper at Crewe headed to Fort William.

    @Jocques what I would do is just wait by the door of the coach in which you are reserved (if you’re away to Fort William, you’ll be in either G, F, D or E which are at the very front of the train, either the first, second, third or fourth coach from the locomotive as it arrives) and a host should greet you (as long as you have a reservation, he/she will know to expect you at Crewe), take your breakfast order and ask if you’ve travelled before. If you’ve not, he/she should show you to your berth and explain how everything works and where everything is.
     
  16. Essexman

    Essexman Member

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    But they are split into portions. Will they still be able to vary the number of coaches for Aberdeen & Fort William for summer & winter seasons as they do now to reflect greater demand for Fort William in summer?
     
  17. Scotrail84

    Scotrail84 Established Member

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    That won't happen I'm afraid.
     
  18. Scotrail84

    Scotrail84 Established Member

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    I do not know the answer to that.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Because?
     
  20. Scotrail84

    Scotrail84 Established Member

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    Because those vehicles are very complicated and need to be marshalled in a certain way for on board computers to work. Plus you'd need extra staff and the train would be longer for stations.
     
  21. MrEd

    MrEd Member

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    I wonder if the issue is that a Class 73/9 plus seven Mk5s (as well as being potentially a tough load for a single Class 73/9 over the WHL) might be too long for certain passing loops (and thereby foul the loop points) on the West Highland Line. Certainly it is at present quite tight fitting all six coaches plus the loco within the loops at certain WHL stations (I’m thinking Rannoch and Tulloch but there may be others). SDO would almost certainly be needed as I don’t think any WHL stations can accommodate 7-coach trains fully platformed (although I’m sure that Mk5s have this anyway).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 15 Jul 2019
  22. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That could be a valid reason, yes - it was only the other "reasons" (one of which was poor design) I was rubbishing.
     
  23. adrock1976

    adrock1976 Established Member

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    Perhaps instead of an onboard computer that is unable to do basic arithmetic, maybe it is time to install a good old fashioned abacus in the loco cab and each of the brake coaches?

    The apparatus can be electrically connected in relation to how many number of beads are required to be slid across from one side to another.

    Joking aside and on a more serious point, I mentioned a few pages ago that I am totally astounded as to how a computer installed onboard cannot even do basic arithmetic. I totally despair how the country has ended up in the terrible state it is in nowadays.

    Who exactly signed off the computer equipment to function like that?
     
  24. Struner

    Struner Member

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    I'm sorry.
    But all the same, have you missed the no reflection on you bit?
     
  25. bobbyrail

    bobbyrail Member

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    You not posting would be a heavy loss to this thread, Bletchleyite didn't attack you personally but instead was commenting on the design concept of the new Mk5 configs.
    As for others they may not fully understand the complexities of the sleeper set with regards to the new stock and it's operation and the connectivity and it's internal IT and electrical framework then if i were you i would leave them to speculate to themselves.
     
  26. _toommm_

    _toommm_ Established Member

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    The Virgin guys at Crewe are quite proactive in asking people what coach they're booked into, and advising where to stand.

    If the formation is wrong though, itll be going slow enough for you to see the coach letters.
     
  27. BenBru

    BenBru Member

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    For joiners at Crewe for Fort William, do they have a chance for a drink in the lounge?
     
  28. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I've only ever joined at Crewe to the seats but I was served a bottle of beer at the buffet counter if that's any help?
     
  29. BenBru

    BenBru Member

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    That does help...thanks!
     
  30. Highlandspring

    Highlandspring Established Member

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    The lounge chucks out about 0100 doesn't it?
     

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