Caledonian Sleeper

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

  1. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    If it is, the prices are simply too high. Sunday night, £48 for a seat on the sleeper, £27.90 on National Express (those are for London Glasgow).
     
  2. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    No, on the train you are paying for the larger seat, more space, availability of food and drink (albeit that you have to pay for) and, for enthusiasts, the haulage.
     
  3. 35B

    35B Member

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    And the overheads that the railway carries but the coach operator does not.
     
  4. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    Strictly speaking, you’re not paying for those, as the overheads (and more!) are paid for by the Scottish and U.K. governments.
     
  5. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    All of which is irrelevant to me if, as was suggested, I'm just someone who's looking for a cheap, comfortable-enough way to get to/from Scotland. I'm sorry, but normal people couldn't care less about overheads, haulage, etc.
     
  6. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    So, then you go by coach which, as you say, is cheap and, for many people, comfortable enough.
     
  7. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Veteran Member

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    Indeed, go by coach. Unless you are suggesting that the Scottish taxpayer should subsidise the sleeper further to reduce ticket prices, to fill up berths and seats that are already largely booked at the higher prices?
     
  8. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    No, I'm not. I was merely responding to the idea that that was the market the seats were aimed at, and saying that, if that's the case, then the price is too high.
     
  9. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Theres a lot more demand for coaches than 200 seats on a busy night. In the summer Ive regularly seen 5 or 6 coaches forming the 594 service to Edinburgh with 1 making the intermediate stops and the rest going straight to Edinburgh.
    I've never been on the fast M11 service when there wasn't a least 1 relief coach.
    Personally I find the M11 Megabus fast service a better travelling experience that the seated sleeper the reliable sub 8 hour journey with only the driver changeover stop. I've no interest in any sort of couchette service.
     
  10. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    I don't think I have ever been on the fast M11 service when there has been a relief coach - maybe I don't go at busy enough times.

    I agree.
     
  11. paul1609

    paul1609 Established Member

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    Southbound its usually a Parks of Hamilton unmarked coach from Buchanan Street that leaves when it is full. Often thats before the Main bus arrives from Dundee or wherever. If you are travelling from north of Glasgow you often wouldn't see it.
     
  12. megabusser

    megabusser Member

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    I guess it is. But with the quality of that offering low (lighting, temperature, seat quality, ride quality) and price relatively high, it seems like they could be doing a better job. If we’re comparing seat to seat, the coach may well win (it does for me). Compare it to some kind of flat surface (as described here):


    and I think the sleeper would attract a good slice of the coach and, potentially, budget airline market which the current offering doesn’t compete with effectively.

    Maybe ScotGov/Serco don’t care about that market, but in a climate emergency, making lower carbon options that compete better with budget airlines seems sensible.
     
  13. MadCommuter

    MadCommuter Member

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    Southbound Inverness going via Aberdeen tonight due to flooding on the HML.
     
  14. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Forum Staff Staff Member Global Moderator

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    Despite appearances to the contrary this isn't, in fact, a thread in the Buses & Coaches sub-forum ( ;) ) so please can we leave the bus chat there?

    Thanks! :)
     
  15. First ScotRail

    First ScotRail Member

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    I’m on the Fort William Highlander tonight from Euston. What a mess. 3 busy carriages and now we’re going to Dundee to be bused due to flooding at Bowling. Not one member of crew could tell me until I told them. The cabin has REALLY bad wear and tear, my shower isn’t working and to add insult I’ve been served what can only be described as an insult of an emergency breakfast featuring cornflakes, UHT milk, apple juice and a biscuit. Not even a hot drink. Serco need to seriously get a grip of the situation here. Not good.
     
  16. glenbogle

    glenbogle Member

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    You’ll get a peh at Dundee!
    Seriously though surely Inverness would be a better option for Fort William than Dundee, don’t understand that decision.
     
  17. FtoE

    FtoE Member

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    Glasgow would be a better option than both - it’s nearer than Dundee and means not travelling all the way up to Inverness to be driven back down to Ft William.
     
  18. Norther Monkey

    Norther Monkey Member

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    That's really quite astounding for a new, lightly used, carriage.
     
  19. First ScotRail

    First ScotRail Member

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    Scratches on the windows, bins broken, lights broken, stains on the carpets, chipped coverings on the beds and around windows, scratches over the light and plug switches. Really bad.

    What has annoyed me more is the fact that we were not even provided the usual breakfast or any hot drink. Just the bog standard, customers were only told of the changes 30 minutes before arriving into Dundee where they were woken, told and the breakfast in bag provided. Staff also seem very demotivated which is a real shame, I actually felt really sorry for our host last night. The lack of information out of Serco CS is shocking. I've just spent 2.5hrs in a shared taxi with another passenger. Others going to Crianlarich and Rannoch - no chance of them getting there anytime soon...

    What a disappointment, my delay repay is already submitted.
     
  20. Norther Monkey

    Norther Monkey Member

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    Could this damage have been caused by one set of inconsiderate guests, with no time, to date, to fix? Or, does it look more likely that the finish simply isn't up to the job?

    Sadly, the disappointing response to disruption seems all too common, with few signs of significant improvement. Whatever the chaos behind the scenes a hot drink on waking would seem to be the least one could expect from a 'journey of a night time'.

    I've just checked the reviews on Trip Advisor, it demonstrates an appalling lack of consistency for a company supposedly offering a high end luxury experience.
     
    Last edited: 22 Feb 2020
  21. First ScotRail

    First ScotRail Member

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    The latter - poor finish, multiple items of damage across multiple cabins across the set. Also cabins locked out of use and toilets.
     
  22. Norther Monkey

    Norther Monkey Member

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    I'm increasingly annoyed that a service so heavily subsidised by the taxpayer is now useless to me. For commuting I can no longer justify the price of a cabin and the new seats offer no rest at all - I now fly or use day trains often meaning less time with my family. In addition the inconsistent service means I'm unlikely to use it for a leisure trip.

    To be honest, unless it can either offer a decent public service, or a consistent tourist attraction (justifying public money be attracting visitors and their money) I'd scrap it. At the moment it does neither.
     
    Last edited: 22 Feb 2020
  23. snookertam

    snookertam Member

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    In ScotRail days the Fort William portion was detached from the Aberdeen portion, so if it's still the same set up it makes sense to keep it all attached as it means not having to move passengers. There would also be nowhere to put the Fort William portion in Glasgow without causing havoc.
     
  24. RT4038

    RT4038 Member

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    Moan, moan, moan.....
    If the line is shut at Bowling, and the Fort William portion is not going to run, exactly what do you expect CS to do? Yes it is disappointing, but that is just life.
    CS could tip you out in Edinburgh at 4am and try to transport you from there [as has happened to me in similar circumstances before], but whatever, you re going to have a long journey by road transport.
    Perhaps the trip to Dundee gives you a longer time in bed.
    I am unsure of the purpose of the shared taxi comment? Were you expecting a private taxi (although you've just been travelling on a train shared with many others), or is it the 2.5 hr journey, the length of which could only be mitigated by CS chartering you a helicopter.

    I realise that you are bitterly disappointed, but your rant is a bit over the top, in what was clearly a difficult situation with probably limited options available. (Anothr post higher up commenting that the Inverness sleeper as diverted via Aberdeen due to flooding......).

    I travelled on the Lowland sleeper on Thursday night and my cabin was in pristine condition, everything working and no noticeable scratches, not that I studied it that closely. The staff were very good and did not appear at all demoralised.
     
  25. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    Firstly, the southbound Fort William didn't get to Edinburgh so there is no 'brake' coach available for the train to run to Glasgow. That means they have to run the Fort William coaches as part of one of the other trains.

    The Highland Main Line is shut due to flooding so the Inverness portion appears to be going via Aberdeen after Perth and will arrive in Inverness after 1030.

    While there were a few times that they ran 11 coaches to Inverness with the Mk2 / Mk3 coaches I don't think it has been done since the Mk5s have been introduced.

    When they have the opportunity to plan it properly they run the Fort William portion to Kingussie but that is difficult at short notice and obviously not possible if the line is shut.

    8 to Aberdeen with Fort William passengers off at Dundee is pretty much the only realistic option for them.
     
    Last edited: 22 Feb 2020
  26. Norther Monkey

    Norther Monkey Member

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    In respect of the 'journey' you're probably correct that few other options were available. However this is marketed, and priced, as a luxury experience.
    Short notice changes are to be expected therefore things such as not being offered a hot drink and staff seemingly unaware of controls plans are not acceptable.
     
  27. First ScotRail

    First ScotRail Member

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    I understand why CS have taken the action they did, they had no option the 1B01 got stuck at Dalreoch and started as 5Y11 this morning empty to FTW in prep for Sunday and they had possible problems on the Inverness due to flooding. Where I had concern is around the communication of the issues, that, by the way, was me and others onboard - there was a lot of unhappy pax on the service tonight due to multiple issues not just the fact we ended up in Dundee. The fact there is still ongoing issues with the stock after the length of time they've been in service is not ideal in anyway - and is actually pretty embarrassing now given the price point CS charge. The disruption and the way they handled it - could be improved.
     
  28. RT4038

    RT4038 Member

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    Any incident of this sort is bound to result in a lot of unhappy pax.
    So the CS controller last night (and I can't believe there is more than 1 on duty for such a small operation) will have had at least four trains running out of course/cancelled with passengers to be conveyed to/from lots of minor unstaffed stations, some not easily accessible, by arranging last minute road transport, probably with multiple firms. Not only dealing with the passenger journeys dislocated, but also the implications for the crews and rolling stock.
    Maybe the Controller had help, but you can easily imagine how making the arrangements can take precedence over the communication, particularly if the arrangements are not going well.
    You clearly had communication with the host(s) to form your view that they are demotivated - so when you asked why no hot drink had been provided what was the answer?
     
  29. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Window scratches in a cabin? That's a lot to pay to commit petty vandalism.
     
  30. JonathanH

    JonathanH Established Member

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    The Inverness portion appears to have reached its destination at 1134 this morning - really better to be on a train all morning rather than being taken by road from Dundee and getting to Fort William around the right time?
     

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