Caledonian Sleeper

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

  1. Deafdoggie

    Deafdoggie Established Member

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    Absolutely. There’s no reason for not starting a coach/taxi at Crewe/Preston. CS even know how many passengers they have in advance!

    Assuming the driver started at Euston (which clearly he won’t have done) he has 9 hours driving. But 4:30 till a break. The problem is it depends how much driving was done pre-Euston. If he was over an hour away from Euston this starts easing into driving hours & an extra 30 minutes can matter.
     
  2. RLBH

    RLBH Member

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    Interestingly, the OeBB rakes have 2 seated coaches, 3 couchettes, 2 sleepers. The sleepers are all en suite with one 'family' compartment in each coach. Replicating that in the Mk 5s would presumably have been possible, giving a useful uplift in capacity for budget travellers without much loss for the 'up-market' passengers.
     
  3. BRX

    BRX Established Member

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    It doesn't seem all that unreasonable to suggest he could have been provided with accommodation at Crewe and a ticket for the first train north in the morning. Depending on where he lives in N wales that would give him a few hours head start. Might mean getting to Inverness at lunchtime instead of after sunset, which is the sort of thing that could make the difference in deciding to abandon a long weekend, say. Of course, maybe we don't know the full story and there was further discussion in private.
     
  4. option

    option Member

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    Isn't the power supply also different to 'standard'?


    It wouldn't have to be a diesel engine under the floor. I was thinking about it being basically a fancy multiple unit, so close-coupled carriages with a power carriage at one end. Power carriage would have a generator, & batteries, & maybe a pantograph. The carriages only need 230V.
     
  5. 35B

    35B Member

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    So deal with one exceptional circumstance by introducing added complexity and inflexibility to the operation? The issue is not the voltage but the amount of power drawn by the train.
     
  6. BRX

    BRX Established Member

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    This has all been discussed before...but remember the Highlander has to split three ways as well as have extra coaches added/removed at Edinburgh, and the number of coaches on the Fort William/Aberdeen portions change throughout the year.
     
  7. trebor79

    trebor79 Established Member

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    And adding power cars would mean it no longer fit in the platform at Euston.
     
  8. SteveM70

    SteveM70 Member

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    Agreed

    And I suspect the “can you get to Euston” offer, which is frankly risible (travel 150 miles in the wrong direction to get a bus back), was either the result of lack of geographic knowledge or more likely CS putting themselves in a position where they can say “well we did offer him something”

    Either way it’s unacceptable, especially for a so called premium product
     
  9. BRX

    BRX Established Member

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    Although not if it were two power cars which made the two locos (one on each end) which currently need to fit in the platform redundant. I can see the argument for an EMU type design for the lowlander service, it's on the highlander that it doesn't really work.
     
  10. trebor79

    trebor79 Established Member

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    An EMU sleeper train is a dreadful idea. Traction motors are very audible in EMU stock. Whilst it's no problem for daytime trains, I wouldn't want to try sleeping with that noise going on.
    In any case, the stock is what it is.
     
  11. BRX

    BRX Established Member

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    I think I'd prefer not to have traction motor noise too... but they do have EMU sleepers in Japan.
     
  12. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    I this specific case the customer was inconvencied but not stranded. Had he been standing on Crewe station then it looks like the answer would have been the same. There is no way to spin that as acceptable.
     
  13. Essexman

    Essexman Member

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    If I was stranded I would book a reasonably priced hotel and claim the money back from CS later, making a big fuss if necessary.
     
  14. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Presumably since its a compulsory reservation service CS would have known. From my experience of the highlander it would be unusual for a passenger to join either there or at Preston at this time of the year, maybe half a dozen max in summer.
     
  15. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    In fairness to CS, you don't know that. If the passenger had indeed been left stranded at Crewe, I would be the first to agree that's not remotely acceptable, but that's not what happened. And, if it had been, you would like to think that Virgin staff at Crewe would have stepped in and made some kind of arrangement, as the rules require.
     
  16. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    Boarded in Inverness now. An issue with the booked berth so moved from M to N. New berth is set up for double occupancy but I'm assured it's just me!

    First impressions are good, berth is nice, shower/toilet is bigger than I was expecting but still small obviously. Hopefully it works!

    Club Car is very nice. I like the lighting, the seating is a bit uncomfortable with the ridges on the back cushions but still very plush. London crew to the usual excellent sleeper standard.
     
  17. bobbyrail

    bobbyrail Member

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    I happened to be watching Railcam early one morning recently it was either Thurs/Fri last week or Monday this week not sure really as i had just woken up but what i did see on Crewe 2 when the PTZ zoomed in was 10-15 pax disembark at Crewe, i was a bit taken aback as i would have expected 2 maybe 3 tops but it was definitely 10-15 this was a highlander heading southbound. I presume those disembarking would have joined the train there in the previous few days.
     
  18. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    I thought that they were very old (1960s), all gone now (other than the odd preserved vehicle) and not really comparable with British practice. They were largely day/night convertible rather than 'cabin' design.
     
  19. Steamysandy

    Steamysandy Member

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    There are still 4 7 car emu sets of class285 which run nightly west from Tokyo as a pair,splitting en route.One set goes to Shikoku and the other to a station on the Sea of Japan coast.These have Tiny British style cabins.
    All other Japanese Sleepingcar trains were withdrawn some years ago but the Coaches for the Cassiopeia (Tokyo- Sapporo) were retained and are now run as a Special Luxury train.Most of the rest were scrapped but some cars are in Museums
     
    Last edited: 29 Nov 2019
  20. MrEd

    MrEd Member

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    So pleased it’s going well so far. Sharing with a stranger has been abolished for over a year so (as far as I can see) there would be no risk of ending up in a berth with a person you don’t know.

    Pleased to hear that the London crew are back up to the usual high sleeper standard- last time I travelled with London crew (earlier in the month), they were unusually surly and uncommunicative, and seemed a bit fed up with it all. (Some hosts, of course, will always be chattier and more enthusiastic than others). That said, there were a lot of issues with the stock that night and we were nearly 100 late into Inverness, so their frustration was understandable. It can’t be much fun being two hours late to your bed knowing you’ll have to do the same hard shift again nine hours later, and may be late getting back home too. I admire the staff’s resiliency given the difficulties that the service has faced over the past few months.
     
  21. Dr Hoo

    Dr Hoo Established Member

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    Thanks for the additional gen.
     
  22. Bassman

    Bassman Member

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    May I ask what advantage do the Dellner couplings provide and why they are fitted to new sleeper stock and locomotives ?
     
  23. marks87

    marks87 Established Member

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    Less of a "bump" is required when coupling, ostensibly making things more comfortable for passengers/customers/guests (delete as appropriate).
     
  24. cf111

    cf111 Established Member

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    Yes it must be a nightmare when things are going wrong. Thankfully we were only 20 minutes late in to Euston so no complaints there. The lady who checked me in was a proper Londoner and was very apologetic about the wait on the platform due to the issue with the coach. The gentleman serving in the club car came across as quite new but he was professional, polite and funny. Very much a proper Sleeper crew.

    I think the stock itself is very good. The bed feels slightly bigger and thank goodness they have got rid of that horrible carpet on the walls of the berths. The bedding is of good quality and I found it comfy. I didn't have the best night's sleep but that was more down to my own sleeping pattern, it was just one of those nights.

    The ride is much firmer than the mk3s, I personally much prefer this to the more bouncy ride. I did wake up at Edinburgh during the shunting but it was noticeably less violent, it was actually someone's walkie-talkie going off outside my room which woke me up! There is also much less motion when braking and accelerating.

    The berths have much better soundproofing and there is less noise from the vestibule. No more drafty droplights and squeeky corridor connections. I did notice the beeping when the doors were released and opened but I found it less disruptive than a slam door closing.

    The berths are well designed, lots of charging points and light controls and enough space for my luggage, only a small case and a backpack. If was being very picky, the light surround for the berth light button is very bright. A slightly less brash surround, orange, blue or green would be better but I am splitting hairs.

    I had the eggs royale for breakfast and it was enjoyable. A good middle ground option between a light and a full breakfast.

    On the down side, I had a shower in the evening and the water only reached tepid. The pressure was OK but not great. I don't mind a cold shower but this was a bit grim. The room was dry in reasonably short order, so no problems there.

    There was no running water in the morning. The toilet wouldn't flush and the tap only dribbled. I pressed the crew call button and a gentleman said he would be through to check but he never appeared. I was glad I had the shower at night!

    All things considered, I was happy. Sadly the pricing means I will not be a regular user however if need be I would have no issues using the Sleeper again. Attached are some pictures of my meals, haggis as good as always (although I still mourn the loss of the Inverness sauce), chocolate torte hit the spot and the rioja was enjoyable too!
     

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    Last edited: 30 Nov 2019
  25. Peter Sarf

    Peter Sarf Established Member

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    I wa
    Hello Jonathan

    I was just wondering about the 'spare set' you mention. I too was under the impression some time ago that there was to be a spare set but it does not add up. I am assuming the 'spare set' refers to 8 coaches in which case it has to be capable of two formations :-
    150xx+151xx+152xx+153xx+153xx+153xx+153xx+152xx
    or
    150xx+151xx+152xx+153xx+153xx+153xx+153xx+153xx

    Now from my calculations the first formation is possible. But for the second formation (requiring one less 152xx and one more 153xx) there are not enough 153xx coaches available. There are 36 153xx coaches normally in use each night. That only leaves 4 spare out of the fleet of 40. I can only assume that means that a spare set, in its entirety, is formed with the extra 152xx ?.

    Either the above or a spare set is not actually sat fully formed up and ready to go in a siding somewhere ?.

    I suppose having one less 153xx is not a show stopper - depending on what has been booked/reserved.

    I presume a spare set or parts thereof is probably kept at at Polmadie ?.

    I assume the 'spare set' is likely to be the rake receiving servicing ready to swap out another set. That way mileages can be kept similar on the entire fleet.

    What is your view on how any/all this is achieved ?.
     
  26. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    I'm no more than an amateur observer of the operation but I agree that 'set 9' can only be formed up with a 152xx coach at each end of the sleeping coaches.

    Maybe @TimboM has picked up more.
     
  27. Peter Sarf

    Peter Sarf Established Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I will wait and see what @TimboM can add.
     
  28. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    Likewise I am certainly amateur...!

    @Peter Sarf is correct in that the spare/not in service yet Unit 9 is currently made up of 2x PRM and 4x Sleeper (15213 / 15214 and 15301 / 15302 / 15336 / 15340 as it stands). When a 2x PRM Glasgow/Aberdeen + Fort William Unit is switched out, it'll be like for like. When an Edinburgh/Inverness unit is switched, they'll need to retain one of the 153xx from the 'incoming' unit and put on the 'outgoing' unit in place of the second PRM to keep it as 1x PRM and 7x Sleepers. It'll need a bit of careful fleet management to ensure the same one doesn't keep getting swapped over and the hours get imbalanced etc.
     
  29. Peter Sarf

    Peter Sarf Established Member

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    Indeed. It goes back to something that has puzzled me for a while. Why is there one more 150xx than there are 151xx. As it stands the daily requirements mean there are unused :-
    2 x 150xx,
    1 x 151xx,
    2 x 152xx,
    4 x 153xx.

    Granted 4 spare 153xx looks a lot until you realise they need 4 or 5 on each 8-car set/unit.

    A complete 9th set/unit will leave spare the following :-
    150xx x 1,
    151xx x 0,
    152xx x 1 or 0,
    153xx x 0 or -1(shortfall but see response by @TimboM).

    To my, crayonista, mind that means CS ordered the wrong number of coaches. It looks like 15011 (nightrider) should have been 15341 (sleeper standard) :?:.

    Early on I thought the 150xx (nightrider ?) coaches must have something about them that makes them more of a maintenance overhead than the 151xx (sleeper lounge). Thus requiring an extra spare. Or maybe CS thought they might need to increase the number of nightrider coaches on, say, the Inverness portion. But that would lead to the Highlander and Lowlander having different formations. That would then not lend itself to the feature of the Highlander and Lowlander set pairs swapping each time they are at Wembley. Do they swap every day at Wembley or only every weekend btw ?.

    I assume the swaps are done every day the sleepers are at Wembley because if it is every weekend then two pairs of sets(units) would never get swapped !.

    Another thing I had forgotten about is that it appears the same two pairs of sets/units will be at Wembley every weekend. That therefore means that if Polmadie wants to do a coach/set swap on these two pairs they will have to be done during the day on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. The other two pairs would have swaps done during the day on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday-Sunday. I am assuming that routine set/coach swaps will be done at the Scottish end as Wembley must be the furthest endpoint from Polmadie. I guess, if routine enough, that the ideal is when the coaches are on the Lowlander because Glasgow & Edinburgh are the nearest resting places - indeed they might well go to Polmadie anyway for cleaning etc ?.

    But then I am assuming Polmadie (Glasgow) is the base for all these coaches - is it ?.
     
    Last edited: 30 Nov 2019
  30. TimboM

    TimboM Established Member

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    150xx are the brake coach and include the guards accommodation as well as the seats. They are also crucial to the way the TCMS works. They are a necessity - the trains (incl portions after the splits) cannot run without one - which is why there is a spare one.

    In a similar vein, the 152xx are more of a necessity than the 153xx - and are fewer in number to start with, so if there's going to be an imbalance, it's better to have one more 152xx than an extra 153xx. To explain that a bit better, you cannot run ABD/FTW without 2x PRMs - as when the split happens a PRM is required in each portion. However, if for whatever reason an Inverness or Edinburgh portion had to run with a Unit with 2x PRMs in (vice the usual 1x PRM) it wouldn't be the end of the world - couple less rooms in the PRM coach and some lucky guests might get bumped up to the Caledonian Double FOC...

    The fleet make up is pretty straightforward: 9 "Units" = 5 with 2x PRM; 4 with 1x PRM; an additional 1500x + 151xx for the Fort William Day coaches and an extra 150xx (seats/brake) being the most crucial type of coach in the fleet. When you look at it like that it's a sensible make up (within the boundaries of a 75 coach fleet).

    The 153xx/152xx just need a bit of fleet management around the units depending on what's getting swapped out for maintenance. Polmadie is indeed the main maintenance base and where the Units get swapped out and hence where the "spare" (or under maintenance) Unit will be.

    Units needing to be swapped out will happen on whatever day it falls for the switch to happen - it's already been done a few times and isn't that challenging to do on a weekday. The Unit going out of service gets parked up in the morning and the "new" one (already ready for action at the depot) gets used for that night's service. The only additional activity that may be required may be to shunt out a 153xx from the 'old' Unit and put on the end of the "new" Unit to make up to 7x 153xx if the situation noted above is happening.

    The full sets swap over at Wembley every day, so each unit passes through Polmadie every four working days in the normal course of events.

    2x PRM Unit cycle: Polmadie - 1M11 (GLC portion) - Wembley - 1A25/1Y11 - Aberdeen and Fort William - 1B16/1B01 - Wembley - 1S26 - back to Polmadie.

    1x PRM Unit cycle: Polmadie - 1C11/1M11 (EDB portion) - Wembley - 1S25 - Inverness - 1M16 - Wembley - 1S26/1B26 (EDB portion) - back to Polmadie.
     
    Last edited: 30 Nov 2019

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