Rail Magazine Caledonian Sleeper

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sonic2009

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Whilst skim reading this today, i saw an article on the Sleeper service being split into different franchises.

If this is the case I wouldn't mind seeing someone like DRS gaining the sleeper contract :)

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ainsworth74

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Didn't we have a thread on this a few weeks ago?

Anyway I think a separate sleeper franchise for the Scottish sleepers would be interesting as it would allow a clear look at how much the sleeper costs to operate as there would be no cross subsidy from the the other Scotrail operations. I also think that by making the costs much clearer this might well add weight to discontinuing the sleeper services in the future (perhaps when the rolling stock comes up for renewal, hard to justify new bespoke stock for a service making a big loss).
 

rail-britain

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Whilst skim reading this today, i saw an article on the Sleeper service being split into different franchises
More than one ScotRail sleeper franchise?
There is nothing in what I have seen, other than the planned split in 2014 between :
ScotRail Regional (10 to 12 years)
ScotRail Sleepers (fixed 15 years)
 

clc

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Anyway I think a separate sleeper franchise for the Scottish sleepers would be interesting as it would allow a clear look at how much the sleeper costs to operate as there would be no cross subsidy from the the other Scotrail operations. I also think that by making the costs much clearer this might well add weight to discontinuing the sleeper services in the future (perhaps when the rolling stock comes up for renewal, hard to justify new bespoke stock for a service making a big loss).

Are they not about to renew the rolling stock at a cost of £100 million? If so it'll be around for a long while yet. In any event I suspect there will always be a political desire to maintain the service.
 

ainsworth74

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Are they not about to renew the rolling stock at a cost of £100 million?

That was never enough to buy brand new rolling stock unless they were planning on cutting back the services significantly. It's pretty certain that money will go towards a refurbishment of the existing stock. Which will by the time this franchise is up for renewal (which is when you'd guess new stock would be again considered) in 2029 be basically life expired meaning brand new stock which could be hard to justify if that last fifteen years have seen millions spent on supporting the losses of the service.
 

Zoe

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That was never enough to buy brand new rolling stock unless they were planning on cutting back the services significantly. It's pretty certain that money will go towards a refurbishment of the existing stock. Which will by the time this franchise is up for renewal (which is when you'd guess new stock would be again considered) in 2029 be basically life expired meaning brand new stock which could be hard to justify if that last fifteen years have seen millions spent on supporting the losses of the service.
Would the service even survive once HS2 is built? High Speed Rail on mainland Europe has seen a reduction in sleeper services.
 

Yew

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That was never enough to buy brand new rolling stock unless they were planning on cutting back the services significantly. It's pretty certain that money will go towards a refurbishment of the existing stock. Which will by the time this franchise is up for renewal (which is when you'd guess new stock would be again considered) in 2029 be basically life expired meaning brand new stock which could be hard to justify if that last fifteen years have seen millions spent on supporting the losses of the service.

I suppose it might be possible to run the MK3 SLEP's until 2044 (another 15 year franchise) however that would really be pushing it. Realistically we cant predict that far ahead with any accuraccy. ALthough I admit its a shame we cant order some more coaches to supplement the MK3's (with a big refurbishment)and bring our sleepers to coninental standards. (generally being nicer inside, with some more options that we have discussed loads of times)
 

rail-britain

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Are they not about to renew the rolling stock at a cost of £100 million?
No, it is a £100m pot for either :
Complete overhaul of the existing rolling stock (excluding locomotives)
or
Partial replacement and upgrade of the existing rolling stock

Sadly we will need to wait a year to find out the franchise specification
 

Failed Unit

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Would the service even survive once HS2 is built? High Speed Rail on mainland Europe has seen a reduction in sleeper services.

Probably not to be honest, Edinburgh and Glasgow will just leave at 530 and be in London by 0900. To be honest if scotrail ran trains from the central belt to connect with the 0540 I wouldn't use the sleeper now. Not often I need to be in before 1000. I guess when the tram work is done and you know how long it will take in a taxi I will use the 0540 more often then I do now.
 

Zoe

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Probably not to be honest, Edinburgh and Glasgow will just leave at 530 and be in London by 0900. To be honest if scotrail ran trains from the central belt to connect with the 0540 I wouldn't use the sleeper now. Not often I need to be in before 1000. I guess when the tram work is done and you know how long it will take in a taxi I will use the 0540 more often then I do now.
I would think that would be an expensive taxi though.
 

rail-britain

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in 2029 be basically life expired meaning brand new stock which could be hard to justify if that last fifteen years have seen millions spent on supporting the losses of the service
The ScotRail Sleeper franchise isn't about money, it is about service
Everyone knows it will never make money and has to be subsidised
The issue up to know was the lack of transparency, hence why it was integrated into the ScotRail franchise rather than the West Coast franchise

The service that the sleeper offers has fringe benefits; from time saving to increasing opportunities for tourism

There are similar parallels to the Great Western sleeper
 

Zoe

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It is trust me.
So the question here is if many people would be prepard to pay for a taxi to get them to Edinburgh/Glasgow for an early train to London when they could just use the sleeper.
 

ainsworth74

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Would the service even survive once HS2 is built? High Speed Rail on mainland Europe has seen a reduction in sleeper services.

Very true! A confluence of events perhaps? A loss making sleeper needing expensive new carriages coupled with much faster journey times already existing and soon to be faster as branches to Manchester and Leeds are due to open within a few years might well be enough to kill off the sleepers. Certainly once HS2 opens all the way to Manchester/Leeds I would not be surprised if the demand for the Lowland Sleepers collapsed (and seeing as they're the busiest as far as I'm aware that really would be a problem).

I suppose it might be possible to run the MK3 SLEP's until 2044 (another 15 year franchise) however that would really be pushing it.

It really would as that would be nearly ten years more than what the current estimates put as being the maximum extension for the Mk3s lives.

The ScotRail Sleeper franchise isn't about money, it is about service
Everyone knows it will never make money and has to be subsidised

I don't disagree with you but I just think it would be hard to make the case (even when considering it as a service you can't just completely ignore the costs) for it once it needs expensive new stock and with HS2 slashing journey times around it.
 

Failed Unit

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So the question here is if many people would be prepard to pay for a taxi to get them to Edinburgh/Glasgow for an early train to London when they could just use the sleeper.

Not many, but it is a question of sleep. The taxi gets me better quality sleep. The best option was train + hotel but that is normally the most expensive. Most people from the central belt get a taxi to the airport now.
 

rail-britain

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I regularly use the 04:25 Glasgow to Euston service, as this gets me in London for 10:00
Equally, I could travel on the 05:40 and still be in London just after 10:00

I prefer this option as this allows me to get to sleep earlier at home and more flexibility in the morning, which is impossible when I was using the Glasgow Sleeper
 

Zoe

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Not many, but it is a question of sleep. The taxi gets me better quality sleep. The best option was train + hotel but that is normally the most expensive. Most people from the central belt get a taxi to the airport now.
So even though you'd have to get up quite early for the taxi, it's still better than sleeping on the train?
 

Yew

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It really would as that would be nearly ten years more than what the current estimates put as being the maximum extension for the Mk3s lives.

If we assume that value is for HST cars, Bombing along at 125mph for anything up to 20 hours a day. The fatigue on a Sleeper trundling along the WCML once a day would be minor in comparison, meaning if really needed they could be around a little longer if it was use MK3's or lose the sleeper

We could even find some MK4's are homeless and they end up being converted. If The Government keeps its running cost, travel time, capacity mantra that is leading to so many Multiple units.
 

route:oxford

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So even though you'd have to get up quite early for the taxi, it's still better than sleeping on the train?

Depends on your home-life really doesn't it?

Spend night in bed at home with Wife/Husband/Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Mistress/Lover.

or

Potentially share cabin with random "of same gender".
 

Failed Unit

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So even though you'd have to get up quite early for the taxi, it's still better than sleeping on the train?

For me personally yes, I can go to bed a 10 get up a 5 job done. On the sleeper in can't sleep before Carstairs then i often get woken on route. Other can sleep through the shunt.
 

Aictos

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The only thing I would prefer to see is have all Sleepers managed by a single company ideally using the former Eurostar platforms...
 

Zoe

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Potentially share cabin with random "of same gender".
You don't have to share a cabin though. If the choice is between having to get up at 4 AM to get to Edinburgh for an early train or boarding a train in the evening and sleeping on the train, I'm sure not everyone would want to get up early.
 

ainsworth74

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You don't have to share a cabin though.

Unless you're made of money pretty much the only place where that's true for most is the Night Rivera where it's possible to get reasonable fares for solo travel.

If we assume that value is for HST cars

Unfortunately for you I do not assume that ;)

But besides by that point the Mk3s will be around sixty years old, I'm far from convinced that it's practical to keep them in everyday service (even if that's 'bumbling' along the WCML) for that length of time. Think of the spares requirements for one thing.

We could even find some MK4's are homeless and they end up being converted.

It's an option certainly. But worth remembering that it isn't possible to go from sleeper to day stock (though the engineering challenges are different).
 

clc

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I prefer to avoid flying if possible so previous visits to Paris have involved Sleeper to London then Eurostar. I have never shared when travelling solo as I usually managed to get 2 bargain berths to myself fairly cheap. Failing that I endured the seated carriage. For a while, maybe 7-8 years ago, Scotrail actually offered through tickets from Glasgow to Paris return for about £200 first class all the way including single sleeping compartment. The following year when I tried to buy the same ticket Scotrail said it had been withdrawn due to lack of demand. Don't think it had been well publicised. I do like the sleeper, except for the seated carriage of course.
 

Failed Unit

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You don't have to share a cabin though. If the choice is between having to get up at 4 AM to get to Edinburgh for an early train or boarding a train in the evening and sleeping on the train, I'm sure not everyone would want to get up early.

For interest have you tried the sleeper? How well did you sleep? I am unlucky in the sense I struggle to sleep on transport, sometimes the only on in the cabin awake on a long haul flight.
 

Yew

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For interest have you tried the sleeper? How well did you sleep? I am unlucky in the sense I struggle to sleep on transport, sometimes the only on in the cabin awake on a long haul flight.

I slept pretty well on the sleeper, as I was lying down and it leaves fairly late, so after a bit of food in the lounge car its time for bed, I woke up about 5:30 in the morning to go to the toilet. (and realise we where still at crewe as the knitting of th WCML died)

Certainly better than a Red- Eye express at 4am. Just a shame if you are going single there arent reasonably priced single accomodation (I think japanese pod hotel stylie, however others like the idea of airline style solutions)


With regards to MK4 sleeper conversions, the carriage is already strong enough as it is, so it would just be interior walls and fittings needed. I imagine you could do something reasonable out of wood and plasterboard if you wanted, just line up the compartments with a window and add a decent set of blinds/curtains. Giving better views during the day, and if done right a ncier environment
 

Zoe

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For interest have you tried the sleeper? How well did you sleep? I am unlucky in the sense I struggle to sleep on transport, sometimes the only on in the cabin awake on a long haul flight.
I havne't tried a cabin but I have tried the seated accomodation and most people there were asleep. I didn't sleep as I was more interested in looking out for the stations we were passing through.
 

TEW

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The only thing I would prefer to see is have all Sleepers managed by a single company ideally using the former Eurostar platforms...

Splitting the sleepers from the Great Western franchise doesn't make much sense operationally. The ScotRail sleepers should stand alone fairly easily, the stock they use is separate from the rest of the franchise and so are the crew largely, I believe north of Edinburgh the crew used are integrated with other services. The provision of locomotives and drivers is of course contracted out to DBS.

The FGW sleepers though are integrated with the rest of the franchise. The drivers and guards are based in Exeter and work an HST one direction, and the sleeper in the other. Exeter-London by HST, London-Exeter on the sleeper for example. It's only the sleeper hosts that are dedicated to the sleeper. The stock itself is dedicated to the sleeper but the 57s can be used as required for other duties and the sleeper stock still remains spare at Penzance in the day, and albeit rarely, it has been used in the past in the day. Splitting the sleeper elements from the other HSS elements of the FGW franchise would be quite difficult.
 

Failed Unit

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I havne't tried a cabin but I have tried the seated accomodation and most people there were asleep. I didn't sleep as I was more interested in looking out for the stations we were passing through.

I most of us on here of done that as well, espcailly when diversions happen such as the nll.
 

sparks2000

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I wonder if people might pay more for better accomodation or a lifestyle service.

What would the fare/occupancy need to be to make the route commercially self funding?

E.g. I could spend a long day in London, drinks with friends, perhaps a meal ( the sleeper could afford to leave London later than it does) and then a comfortable hotel style "room" on the service back to Inverness, in time for a hot breakfast and off into the town at 0800. That would compare very well with a hectic airport journey and worth paying a premium for imho.

Also, are the air journeys of today truly sustainable once the real environmental impact is taken into account? When the prices are matched to the real cost of the impact of the fuel used (same could be said of cars & taxi travel) will the rail route be more cost effective?
 
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