Caledonian Sleeper

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

  1. Jocques

    Jocques Member

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    First time on it tonight.

    Apparently it's going to divert to Dundee, then a bus. I'm not sensing an arrival on time...
     
  2. John Bishop

    John Bishop Member

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    Why can’t they put the FW stock onto the Inverness portion and drop the FW guests at Kingussie for a bus?
     
  3. PaxVobiscum

    PaxVobiscum Established Member

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    As in “Transport Scotland another few miles further north”

    Transport Scotland, the national(ist? ;)) transport agency. I would like to think they were apolitical but who knows?
     
  4. InOban

    InOban Established Member

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    They could do that out of season, when all the passengers could fit into the Inverness half set. Adding the FW coaches on to the Inverness set would make the train too long ? 13 vehicles
     
  5. Jocques

    Jocques Member

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    They did that on Friday night, I'm not sure why they can't now. Much shorter bus journey.
     
  6. David57

    David57 Member

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    Thank You, yes it was...
     
  7. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    It would end up being far too long for the platform at Kingussie station.

    The Fort William portion also isn't next to the Inverness - it's separated by the Aberdeen seats/lounge, and sleepers. They'd need to either turn a half set, or carry out a significantly more complicated shunting procedure.

    In the off-season, they can usually accommodate Fort William passengers in the Inverness portion and bus them from Kingussie.
     
  8. route:oxford

    route:oxford On Moderation

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    Indeed. However, my flight was from Edinburgh to Seattle. Changing at Heathrow. Which is why I got the full EUR600 due to the delay between EDI & LHR. It's the final destination that matters.

    Surprisingly few circumstances are "extraordinary". Even industrial action can be considered as being not "extraordinary".
     
  9. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

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    It appears to be impossible to buy tickets to/from Fort William on the Caledonian Sleeper website, up until the end of August.
    Perhaps they want to limit the number of people doing the Dundee rail replacement bus or something.
     
  10. 6Z09

    6Z09 Member

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    Did the Fort William portion not run as a seperate train to Kingussie?
     
  11. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    Yes, but I was pointing out that if you were on a point-to-point flight from Edinburgh to London (which was the original claim), your compensation would not exceed €250.

    Anyway, this isn’t related to the Caledonian Sleeper so I’ll leave it there.
     
  12. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    Correct. They’re not selling any further seats/berths on trains there’s a good chance won’t run.
     
  13. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Me too I've used the sleepers since the early 1980s (mK 1s) to varying degrees up until my retirement this year, reliability has always been hit or miss- all part of the adventure.
    Worst reliability on the West Highland Line was during the final months of the class 37s whatever enthusiasts may tell you.
     
  14. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    which is great, but it’s not being pitched a magical multi mode mystery tour that has no reliable arrival time, it’s being pitched as luxury travel. And priced against a flight and a half decent hotel. And it doesn’t match up ...
     
  15. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    On the West Highland line the vast majority of the users are one off tourists, there are also a lot of Rail industry priv holders. As somebody who commuted from Garelochead to/ from Kent for three years most weekends, it has never and could not compete with flights. I only know of 2 other regular customers in 3 years of travel. I used it because Im a rail enthusiast who used to get reduced travel because of my occupation. The fact that the train was 5 hours late getting to Fort William only enhances the dit value to US tourists imho
     
  16. Darandio

    Darandio Established Member

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    Americans pay top dollar for a service and are then overjoyed it's 5 hours late? Kind of backs up the perception of many that they are stupid.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    If it was a budget service aimed at InterRailers and the likes (like, say, Thello) that would be cool. But it doesn't work when it's a premium service aimed at business travellers who need to be on time.

    I think that's the main criticism that can be levelled at them - they are not selling to the market they are actually delivering for.
     
  18. nlogax

    nlogax Established Member

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    I've been on late-running long distance and sleeper services more than a few times, most of them on Amtrak as it turns out. Being onboard for hours longer than anticipated while stopping in / trundling through decent scenery is absolutely a joy as long as there's not an expensive connection to risk missing or a rigid schedule to stick to.
     
  19. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    ...which, with the market they are aiming at, there will be for most people. Possibly least so on the FW, though if you arrived very late it might ruin someone's mountain day.
     
  20. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    So those high spending one off people who waste half a day on a bus. And tell all their brilliantly white trainered Hanks and Barbaras friends what a sodding nightmare it was. Can I persuade my
    Other half to waste half a day of precious holiday staring at a train, or worse, a bus? Nope. But she didn’t take a trip to Euston to just see the new stock (she told me I was weird...) and doesn’t see the appeal of sleeping in a narrow uncomfortable bed that is shaking and noisy ... I could get her to do it if it was going to at least be on time and reliable .....
     
  21. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    I think that's my point, in the last 3 years of travelling on the West Highland Line there are only 3 other regular users I can identify. One alights at Bridge of Orchy and the other with his wife alights at Courour the rest of the passengers will be a one off tourists with a high proportion of railway priv users. There is no huge business user client base. There nobody else I can recognise as a regular user in the Aberdeen Lounge car either northbound. Other Forum users suggest that there is an intermediate station customer base on the Highland Main line, I don't doubt this.
    If you are catering for a largely premium tourist base the late arrival probably isn't as devastating as this forum suggests they will just check in to their hotel later and write it down to an adventurous British experience
     
  22. MrEd

    MrEd Member

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    Ooh I’m not sure what one of those is? Is that a kind of smart card? Presumably I’ll need to visit a Scotrail ticket office to obtain the smart card first?
     
  23. MrEd

    MrEd Member

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    I’ve been a semi-regular user of both the Fort William and Inverness portions for the last five years, travelling to Kintail and Skye to visit friends and family, and to do walking, about once a month on average. This area is equidistant from Spean Bridge and Inverness so I tend to alternate between the two destinations for variety’s sake, and to have experience of both portions. I have certainly noticed far more regular travellers in the Inverness section of the train (headed mainly to Perthshire or the villages in the Cairngorms National Park- generally these are folk who have their work in London and go back to be with their family in Scotland at the weekends) than I have in either the Aberdeen or Fort William portions. I also feel that there are considerably fewer ‘regulars’ now than there were in the First Group era. I definitely don’t think that business travellers are a significant customer base on the Highlander.

    I’ve known some pretty late arrivals into Inverness and Spean Bridge (once we were 2 hours late into Inverness after a massive security alert at Euston which turned out merely to be an e-cigarette- we left Euston well over 3 hours late and it was a miracle the sleepers ran at all, Virgin had cancelled all their services and lots of folk were stranded at Euston that night), and I’ve never known passengers to be especially irate about this (as long as the train actually gets there and they’re not turfed off onto a bus or day train somewhere along the way). A large proportion of the passengers going to Inverness and a Fort William these days are tourists, whose journeys are not generally time critical.

    Sometimes the FW bound train’s so late that I miss the Kyle of Lochalsh bus at Spean Bridge, but when this happens, I call a taxi to take me directly from Spean Bridge to Kintail and can effectively be reimbursed for this when the delay repay comes through. Yes it’s expensive initially but the delay repay will cover it, so I’ve not really lost out. I take the view that as a very long-distance service operating on some challenging routes, delays on the sleeper will be inevitable from time to time. I certainly don’t know of any other sleeper service in the world with an immaculate timekeeping record.
     
    Last edited: 12 Aug 2019
  24. EE Andy b1

    EE Andy b1 Member

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    I think this is a fair and proper view of the Caledonian sleeper service especially when delays are weather related or other types of railway incidents but what is required are the Mk5 sleepers being upto the expectations of the passengers of comfort and reliability and that's not apparent at the moment.
    If there are delays there should be plenty backup food and drink to be available complimentary to all, seated or in berths.
    In case of train termination and cancellation there should be a proper plan setup for passengers to either be put into accommodation, transferred to day trains or bussed accordingly but the passengers should get the choice.
    Whatever, passengers should never just be dumped at stations at ungodly hours to fend for themselves, so CS needs proper agreements with the other TOCs and transport companies.
     
  25. mde

    mde Member

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    It is a smartcard* - you can obtain the ScotRail version on their website.

    That said, I'm not sure Caledonian Sleeper will accept a ticket loaded onto one of those cards…

    The franchise agreement does make provision for CS rolling out smartcard based services in the future (search for ITSO); but, there's a lot of 'if' statements contained within, so, make of that what you will.

    * ITSO itself is a membership organisation that sets the standards for 'interoperable smart ticketing' - in theory, one card should be able to work with services used by others (e.g. a SPT branded card working elsewhere)… it isn't always that easy though :rolleyes:
     
  26. Jocques

    Jocques Member

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    Went from Crewe to Dundee last night. Got on just before midnight and woken at 5, saying to be ready to get off for the Fort William bus at 5.45.

    There was no breakfast option, other than tea or coffee and a banana.

    Just up to Spean Bridge on the bus now. Looks like we'll be at FW before the 9.57 ETA.
     
  27. Justapunter

    Justapunter Member

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    Tourist journeys ARE time critical. They have limited time in a place. And arriving hours late or by bus isn’t acceptable. The same as paying for a luxury train experience and being turned out before 0600 onto a bus is not acceptable except in absolute emergencies.

    It really is odd how some people (generic to be safe) can, with one breath, say there are few regular travellers so it’s all tourists, then say in the next they are one offs, so not that important. Make your mind up or at least get all the excuses the same way.

    They run an expensive train service which they pitch as superior. People have choices. The quality is not good enough. The reliability isn’t good enough. The service isn’t (currently) good enough. Not for the price. And that’s without the safety aspects on the other thread.

    That is the simple reality. Not excuse after justification attempt ...
     
  28. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Would you say you've enjoyed a "magical journey" with "a touch of the extraordinary" whilst having "a timeless experience" and being able to "unwind from the stress of everyday life"?

    (Quotes lifted from Caledonian Sleeper website)
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I reckon he'd have had that better if he'd taken a flight to Glasgow then the Citylink coach (which, despite being a coach, is a VERY pleasant and scenic trip).
     
  30. Jocques

    Jocques Member

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    I'd say I...had a journey. Certainly an experience. But I wouldn't add any adjectives to it all...!
     

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