Caledonian Sleeper

Bletchleyite

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Nobody is likely to cancel their journey just because there's no catering. They are going to be travelling for a reason - be it a holiday, meetings or visiting friends/family - those aren't going to go away just because there's no hot dinner on the train.

But people do like to plan alternatives. If you know in advance, then you can bring or buy sandwiches.

Even a "we're not sure if we are going to be able to provide catering tonight so you might be best advised to bring something" would be worthwhile.
 
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Meerkat

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Nobody is likely to cancel their journey just because there's no catering. They are going to be travelling for a reason - be it a holiday, meetings or visiting friends/family - those aren't going to go away just because there's no hot dinner on the train.
Depends. They have paid a lot of money for a specific experience
if they aren’t getting the experience they are paying the extra for they might want to save the money, get a more comfortable bed for the night and a day train or flight.
 

Bletchleyite

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Depends. They have paid a lot of money for a specific experience
if they aren’t getting the experience they are paying the extra for they might want to save the money, get a more comfortable bed for the night and a day train or flight.

A few might, but most won't at that stage. And with a bit of notice (I think it shuts at 9:30) you can have a pretty good quality meal from M&S.
 

Meerkat

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A few might, but most won't at that stage. And with a bit of notice (I think it shuts at 9:30) you can have a pretty good quality meal from M&S.
Fair point, I don’t know how the market splits up, and thinking of the marketing.
I was thinking of people who have pushed the boat out a bit for the ‘romance’ of a meal on the train and then sleeping on a train.
If they then find they will be eating cold food out of plastic, in their cabin, they might think ‘sod that, that’s not what we extended our budget for’, so get a decent meal, a decent bed, and then fly up or get a day train and see the view.
 

Bletchleyite

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Fair point, I don’t know how the market splits up, and thinking of the marketing.
I was thinking of people who have pushed the boat out a bit for the ‘romance’ of a meal on the train and then sleeping on a train.
If they then find they will be eating cold food out of plastic, in their cabin, they might think ‘sod that, that’s not what we extended our budget for’, so get a decent meal, a decent bed, and then fly up or get a day train and see the view.

As the lounge is shut there's no "decent meals" on offer anyway - but yes, if notified in advance you could go for a decent meal then catch the Sleeper! :)
 

Meerkat

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As the lounge is shut there's no "decent meals" on offer anyway - but yes, if notified in advance you could go for a decent meal then catch the Sleeper! :)
That decent meal wouldn’t be funded by travelling more cheaply though.
 

Mordac

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Interesting you mention that, as that's been the default method of operation in mainland Europe for many years, though less so now. Typically the train and seated coaches were operated by the "TOC", while Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, Mitropa etc would run the restaurant and individual sleeping and couchette coaches. Indeed, that started right back in Pullman days.

On the other hand, I'd not touch Sodexo with a ten-foot pole. You need a genuine quality hospitality operator involved, not an outsourcer whose premise is basically to run staff canteens on the cheap.
If they were serious about quality they could go with Do&Co.
 

Dr Hoo

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They do indeed work bloody hard!
Keeping out of the way of passengers/guests at the first hint of disruption.
There seem to be quite a few comments about 'management'. Can someone explain more precisely how CS is organised?

I have difficulty in believing that there are oodles of 'managers' working normally at Euston (or Glasgow Central, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William) every evening barricading themselves in their offices with the lights off when things are going wrong on the platform outside.
 

andbrads

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Fair point, I don’t know how the market splits up, and thinking of the marketing.
I was thinking of people who have pushed the boat out a bit for the ‘romance’ of a meal on the train and then sleeping on a train.
If they then find they will be eating cold food out of plastic, in their cabin, they might think ‘sod that, that’s not what we extended our budget for’, so get a decent meal, a decent bed, and then fly up or get a day train and see the view.
That is exactly me, and precisely what I will do next time.

With enough notice, £500 buys two single BA Club fares and a night in a top-end hotel to which CS does not hold a candle in terms of civility.
 

6Z09

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There seem to be quite a few comments about 'management'. Can someone explain more precisely how CS is organised?

I have difficulty in believing that there are oodles of 'managers' working normally at Euston (or Glasgow Central, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William) every evening barricading themselves in their offices with the lights off when things are going wrong on the platform outside.
They don't need to barricade themselves anywhere! They are never seen after dark, especially if there is a hint of disruption .
Anyone travelling last Monday night who set eyes on any Management please step forward!
 

Bletchleyite

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They don't need to barricade themselves anywhere! They are never seen after dark, especially if there is a hint of disruption .
Anyone travelling last Monday night who set eyes on any Management please step forward!

To be fair management are there to manage, they might actually manage better if they aren't doing frontline staffs' jobs for them.
 

najaB

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Depends. They have paid a lot of money for a specific experience if they aren’t getting the experience they are paying the extra for they might want to save the money, get a more comfortable bed for the night and a day train or flight.
They're not likely to cancel with a few hours (at most) notice.
 

6Z09

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To be fair management are there to manage, they might actually manage better if they aren't doing frontline staffs' jobs for them.
Where are they doing front line staff jobs??
Have you come across a manager on the train or at a station at night?
If they are doing front line jobs, why did no trains run during the strike?
Unlikely, unless there is a photo opportunity for some marketing nonsense.
 
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RT4038

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Where are they doing front line staff jobs??
Have you come across a manager on the train or at a station at night?
Unlikely, unless there is a photo opportunity for some marketing nonsense.
To be fair, if they are riding trains or visiting stations at night, then they will not have time to do the day job. Perhaps the day job pretty much fills up their working hours......?
 

Bletchleyite

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Where are they doing front line staff jobs??
Have you come across a manager on the train or at a station at night?
If they are doing front line jobs, why did no trains run during the strike?
Unlikely, unless there is a photo opportunity for some marketing nonsense.

I was responding to people who were calling for them to be out on the station. If they are out on the station they aren't managing.
 

6Z09

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To be fair, if they are riding trains or visiting stations at night, then they will not have time to do the day job. Perhaps the day job pretty much fills up their working hours......?
Well from some of the posts on here they are not doing very well at the day job either!
They seem to get any easy ride from many, quite astounding really given the shambles of recent weeks!
Is a company that has suffered industrial action every year for the past five or so years a well managed business?
 
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Grumpy Git

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That is exactly me, and precisely what I will do next time.

With enough notice, £500 buys two single BA Club fares and a night in a top-end hotel to which CS does not hold a candle in terms of civility.

I concur. I'd be livid if it happened to me. Imagine booking the Orient Express and being served a Tesco microwave spag. bol. and a tin of Carling.
 

Bletchleyite

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I concur. I'd be livid if it happened to me. Imagine booking the Orient Express and being served a Tesco microwave spag. bol. and a tin of Carling.

And this is as I said above the fundamental issue. It's marketed as a premium service which it just isn't practical for it to be.

Make the marketing (and price) more in line with the likes of OeBB NightJet (though keeping the lounge car) and much of the disquiet will go away.

It's a Premier Inn on rails, and that's all it can ever really be.
 

najaB

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I concur. I'd be livid if it happened to me. Imagine booking the Orient Express and being served a Tesco microwave spag. bol. and a tin of Carling.
That, in itself, doesn't have to be a problem. As long as the company does what's needed to make it up to you - e.g. offers you a meal at a top-notch restaurant or something similar by way of an apology.
 

Grumpy Git

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And this is as I said above the fundamental issue. It's marketed as a premium service which it just isn't practical for it to be.

Make the marketing (and price) more in line with the likes of OeBB NightJet (though keeping the lounge car) and much of the disquiet will go away.

It's a Premier Inn on rails, and that's all it can ever really be.

I'd say a full refund would be the minimum.

It's not just the direct cost in monetary terms remember. Some people may have booked holidays off work (and also incurred additional expense getting to Euston), how do you compensate for that?
 

Bletchleyite

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I'd say a full refund would be the minimum.

It's not just the direct cost in monetary terms remember. Some people may have booked holidays off work (and also incurred additional expense getting to Euston), how do you compensate for that?

I think you're overdoing the idea that people might cancel and go home, abandoning a whole trip because they won't get a bacon butty for breakfast.
 

Grumpy Git

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I think you're overdoing the idea that people might cancel and go home, abandoning a whole trip because they won't get a bacon butty for breakfast.

Quite possibly, but I'm reacting to the claptrap marketing on the CS website:

"Begin your magical journey............... Caledonian Sleeper is a gateway to a world of possibilities with our overnight rail service bringing a touch of the extraordinary to travel between London and Scotland."

At least I know what they mean by "extraordinary" in this case!
 

andbrads

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OK so here is the response to my complaint about food / drink not being available to purchase, and it not being communicated in advance:

"Dear Mr (got my name wrong)

Thank you for providing feedback on your journey.

Unfortunately we had a late operational issue with the water boiler and unfortunately also our fridges for storing food on the London Euston to Aberdeen service.

This is the reason no food or drink was offered to guests.

I can totally understand this was very frustrating on your journey. We normally would contact guests in advance I am afraid this was discovered too late for contact.

I have refunded £20 to your original payment card today for the lack of food and drink service. Please allow 3-5 working days to process.

Kind Regards

XXXXXX

Team Leader"


(Strangely, I was provided boiling water the next morning, for me to make my own Nescafe from. Presumably a different boiler!)

So, £20 back. Had I been offered the ticket EUS-ABD at £450 at the outset, with it being explicit there would be no food and drink, I think I would have graciously declined the offer :rolleyes:

I concur. I'd be livid if it happened to me. Imagine booking the Orient Express and being served a Tesco microwave spag. bol. and a tin of Carling.
If only spag bol and lager were available - they weren't!!
 
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RT4038

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Well from some of the posts on here they are not doing very well at the day job either!
They seem to get any easy ride from many, quite astounding really given the shambles of recent weeks!
Is a company that has suffered industrial action every year for the past five or so years a well managed business?

I would expect that they are managing in an impossibly tight budgetary situation, with little or no room for manoeuvre. Whether they are managing well or not in the constraints that they are placed, I am not close enough to comment. I would not consider the incidence of industrial action in the railway industry as a reliable measure of the quality of management.
 

najaB

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So, £20 back. Had I been offered the ticket EUS-ABD at £450 at the outset, with it being explicit there would be no food and drink, I think I would have graciously declined the offer :rolleyes:
I think they've undervalued the importance of the food offering. I would have expected at least £50 back per ticket - enough for a semi-decent meal in a nice restaurant.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think they've undervalued the importance of the food offering. I would have expected at least £50 back per ticket - enough for a semi-decent meal in a nice restaurant.

Why when the food offering (other than breakfast) is chargeable? You've got that plus what you'd spend on food on board.
 

najaB

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Why when the food offering (other than breakfast) is chargeable? You've got that plus what you'd spend on food on board.
Because they're trying to limit the reputational damage. I agree that on a pure compensation basis £20 is more than adequate, but the social media benefit of a £50 voucher is going to be more than worth the cost.
 

Bletchleyite

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Because they're trying to limit the reputational damage. I agree that on a pure compensation basis £20 is more than adequate, but the social media benefit of a £50 voucher is going to be more than worth the cost.

Yes, true, that'd be more like the Premier Inn "Good Night Guarantee".
 

andbrads

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I think they've undervalued the importance of the food offering. I would have expected at least £50 back per ticket - enough for a semi-decent meal in a nice restaurant.

It’s far more than the value of the food. It’s about being able to buy food on a train that you’re on for 13 hours and can’t get off, during regular meal times and with all opportunity to help one’s self gone.
 

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