Caledonian Sleeper

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

  1. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    It's a factor in so much as Paddington-Penzance is about 5.5 hours on a day train, which is just about palatable. London to Inverness is something like 8 hours and London to Fort Bill is in excess of 10 hours (incl a walk across Glasgow). That'd be pretty tedious on a day train and thus makes the Sleeper option for those sorts of distances a much more attractive alternative. Thus higher demand and higher prices.

    The longer distances (and change of traction / splits) of the Caledonian Sleeper also make it a much more costly operation to run. Even as a 'normal' passenger you'd probably appreciate that a single train running for a shorter distance is much cheaper to operate than multiple trains (in effect) running over much longer distances with all the extra operating costs that incurs.
     
  2. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It is for the "train ticket" component.
     
  3. Hipster Dashie

    Hipster Dashie Member

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    On a side note I would highly recommend the Highland Chieftain (which is the name given to the 8h day train that runs between London and Inverness) - exceptionally comfortable HST service (for now!) that runs through some fantastic countryside.

    But yeah back on topic, the significantly longer shifts staff have to work is probably a big factor too.
     
  4. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    You could look at it another way, and consider the costs involved if Night Riviera was a stand-alone franchise, rather than an integrated and arguably ‘prestige’ part of another much larger operation.
     
  5. oldman

    oldman Member

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    If you think of the Lowland as two trains, each with similar capacity to the Penzance, movement costs should be lower as the Edinburgh loco can do a round trip each night. I guess the Highlander gets far the greater part of the subsidy.
     
  6. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Im not a regular traveller on East Coast services or the Highland Main Line but travelled on the Highland Chieftain between Stirling and Inverness last week. Personally I got the impression that I was travelling in a knackered old train that was on its last legs, I didn't find the leather seats particularly comfortable. Parts of the journey were painfully slow with numerous temporary speed limits that meant the train couldn't keep to its scheduled arrival in Inverness.
    As far as I can see the preferred operators on London-Inverness are Easyjet or Megabus. Until the rail industry ups its game Im afraid it is just a notional player consuming large amounts of public subsidy that probably would be better spent elsewhere.
     
  7. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    I take it you mean between London and Inverness, and not generally? Your post reads like you want the whole network shut down!
     
  8. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Only from your selective quoting. I said:
    "As far as I can see the preferred operators on London-Inverness are Easyjet or Megabus. Until the rail industry ups its game Im afraid it is just a notional player consuming large amounts of public subsidy that probably would be better spent elsewhere."
    Personally I don't want any of the the network shut down but the rail product on London Inverness and in truth most London to Scotland services is currently not up to the air or road competition.
     
  9. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    Fair enough, it wasn't deliberate selective quoting, I genuinely wasn't sure what you meant.

    Each to their own, I sooner go on my hands and knees than sit on a motorway coach for much more than an hour and half or so, and flying drives me mad in that I can't settle to do any work.

    However, and bringing us back on topic, I agree that the Caledonian Sleeper in its present unreliable condition does not appear to represent a good use of public money.
     
  10. Crepello

    Crepello Member

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    I'd the pleasure of riding the Cal Sleeper twice within the past year - once to Fort Dubya and once to Inverness. Both journeys excellent and on time. Teething troubles with the Mk 5s have been unfortunate, but most problems over recent weeks were caused by permanent way issues. A majority of CS customers continue to arrive on time, many even early. So I don't think it's fair or accurate to describe CS as being in "present unreliable condition".

    I also rode the Highland Chieftain from Inverness - another great trip and I remarked in what good shape the HSTs had been kept in - sorry to hear this isn't universally the case. My leather seat was in perfect condition; great service too (though the pork in mustard was a little... unusual!). Can't agree that a preferable experience would be the misery of airports and low[er]-cost airlines, nor an endless motorway trip in a coach seat.

    I understand vastly more public money is spent on the UK's roads - which seem more gridlocked each time I visit. If journeys are to be subsidized by taxpayers (a whole other discussion!), a small portion of those subsidies going to overnight rail does not seem unreasonable.
     
  11. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    It's unreliable and poor value for money in that you never know whether your train's going to board on time, or your toilet's going to flush or your shower to work, or they've got enough staff to open the lounge, or the lounge is functioning at all.

    There's more to it than whether the service arrives at its destination on time - although I agree that they seem to have got better at that in the past couple of weeks. I've tempted fate now...
     
  12. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    A lot of the things that make it "poor value for money" result in Delay Repay, compensation and/or another trip free if you complain (which a lot of people seem to do)… which then makes it good value for money! ;)

    Passenger income covered 39% of the total cost of running the Sleeper last year per CS' 2017/18 accounts recently published. I reckon getting something for 61% off 'cost price' is great value for money, even if you have to wait to board, the lounge isn't open and the WCs are a bit iffy.
     
  13. Struner

    Struner Member

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    Surely you want it to function properly, irrespective of what you pay for it?
     
  14. 185143

    185143 Established Member

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    Indeed. Last time I used the sleeper I'd paid just £33 for a seat from London to Inverness.

    Would I have been unhappy if the loos were unusable? Yes.
    Would I have been unhappy if my seat was broken? Yes.
    Would I have been unhappy if there was no catering available? Yes, if I'd not been informed prior to boarding.

    At the end of the day, I got a decent night sleep and arrived into Inverness on time, even managing my first choice of evening meal. Very satisfied indeed! I'd have still been as satisfied (though not at the value for money) had I paid the walk up rate as it did everything I needed it to, and very well indeed. A USB socket would have been nice, but a power bank with me and USBs on the ScotRail 158 I connected onto meant it wasn't really an issue
     
  15. londonmidland

    londonmidland Member

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    Apologies if posted in the wrong thread/not applicable but 5Z73 has split Rutherglen Central Jn.
    1x engine and 1x coach.
     
  16. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    What is 5Z73? And how does one split a junction? Difficult to know whether something's in the right thread when you've not the first idea what it's on about.
     
  17. class 9

    class 9 Member

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    5Z73 Polmadie - Craigentinny. Shown a Caledonian Sleeper train on RTT
    Usually when a train is described as ‘split’ when in service it means that vehicles have become detached when they shouldn’t have.
     
  18. 7522

    7522 Member

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    Tonight I'm taking my first ever trip on the sleeper, the lowlander from Edinburgh - Euston. As I have never done the sleeper before I have a couple of questions. Apologies in advance as I know some of these questions are probably very basic but I'm the kind of person that gets stressed easily so any info whatsoever would be really appreciated.

    The main things I would like to know about are the boarding and exiting process. I think I have read on here in the past that there has been two different systems of boarding passengers (or perhaps check in as CS may now call it). One system is where you queue to check in at the end of the platform and the other where you walk to the appropriate coach and check in there. Does anyone know which system it will most likely be tonight? I have not followed the thread in a few months so am not up to date on this.

    Also is it still the case that key cards are found in rooms and you set them up yourself? Or are you given a key card on check in?

    In the morning I'm assuming the host will knock on the door for a wake up call? Do you just leave the key card in the room when you get off?

    Is there anything else I should be aware of as a first time traveller?

    Have not followed this thread in a while (partly due to not wanting to know about any potential issues with the service / MK5 coaches) as I would rather just show up on the day and hope for the best. I am excited for my first journey tonight, any answers to the above will help me understand the process better.

    Thanks in advance and apologies again if these questions are basic.
     
  19. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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    Hi. You will be well looked after on the train - there is a host for every two sleeper carriages.

    To answer your questions:
    - check in is at the carriage door now
    - you will be given a key card for your room and it should already be set up
    - your host will ask if you would like a wake up call - it’s your choice
    - leave the key card when you get off

    Boarding should be from around 22.30 I think. If you want some food and drink then find a seat in the club car soo after you board. You may have to share if you want one of the proper tables - but that’s half the fun.

    Otherwise, enjoy!
     
  20. 7522

    7522 Member

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    Brilliant thanks, that helps a lot!

    I probably will go along to the club car, I want to get the full experience. Sure I will enjoy!
     
  21. 31160

    31160 Member

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    Does anyone know if the MK5s will be on the highland buy early Nov or is it still fluid
     
  22. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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    You should be fine.
     
  23. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    When I travelled in July, my keycard was in my room and I had to set it up myself.

    Things could have changed since then of course.
     
  24. alistairlees

    alistairlees Established Member

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    That was the case when I travelled in April but I thought it had changed since then. I might be wrong on this bit!
     
  25. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    I travelled in June and was handed mine at the door.
     
  26. 47271

    47271 Established Member

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    Edinburgh check in should be at doors now and keys issued on the platform, usually P11. The train is arranged with Coach G closest to the locomotive and the lounge and seated coaches at the rear.

    I don't want to cause any unnecessary stress, but if you're relying on eating onboard watch out for them running without evening lounge service. I've heard that they're very stretched for Lowlander crew at the moment and have to prioritise the sleeping cars, so don't be surprised if you find it shut. Bonus if it's open...

    No impact on wake ups or breakfast service, everything else should meet your expectations.

    Do report on your experiences.
     
  27. 7522

    7522 Member

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    Thanks for the information!

    ECS has arrived on time from Glasgow so all looking good so far. In relation to the food I have already ate so am not too worried if the lounge is closed. Obviously I would prefer it to be open as I want to have the full experience but if it is closed I won't be going without food or anything like that.

    Looking forward to it!
     
  28. Mainliner

    Mainliner Member

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    Of course - even a budget hotel would rapidly lose custom if it became known for having to wait a long time to check in, frequent dining room closures, non-working showers/toilets, etc.
     
  29. superalbs

    superalbs Established Member

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    Well it depends how 'budget' it is.

    I'd happily pay pocket money prices for the CS, even in its disastrous state.
     
  30. kingqueen

    kingqueen Member

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    I'm on the northbound Lowlander in the accessible cabin. It is BAKING in here. It was really baking when I got on, so I asked the host to cool it down. They did what they could but it was still really REALLY hot. So once I managed to communicate with the host again over the rubbish intercom, he said: in some of the rooms the thermostat is wired in the wrong way round. He turn it UP as warm as it can go - and cold air is coming through. So: if it's too cold in winter or too hot in summer, try setting it to the opposite temperature. Too late now like, the room isn't going to cool and I'm not going to sleep (properly/at all) but hope this helps somebody else.
    Also broken:
    :- The door. The accessible cabin, the door open / close / lock buttons are out of order. The door can only be opened and shut manually, with great difficulty, and not locked
    :- The notification system for the lounge. Like a lot of people I got a text saying it was shut for this evening due to staff sickness, so like a lot of people I ate and bought stuff. It is not out of use.
    :- The WiFi. Unusable.
    :- One of the above bed USB sockets
    :- Assistance provision at Euston. Most aggravating.
    But at least I could physically travel on it this time...
     

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